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Gwinnett Relay selected for national cancer study

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Visitors to this year's Gwinnett Relay for Life will have the opportunity to help fight cancer even more directly than usual.

At this year's event -- held May 4 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds -- the American Cancer Society will enroll volunteers for participation in a national cancer prevention study known as Cancer Prevention Study 3, or CPS-3. Anyone between ages 30 and 65 with no personal history of cancer is eligible to participate in the study that involves a simple blood sample and a series of questionnaires.

"We're hoping to reach 500 folks, and we could certainly make that happen if enough people know about what we're doing," said Judy Godfrey, ACS' local mission delivery manager.

Those interested can enroll and participate between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. the night of Gwinnett's Relay for Life, which has been the American Cancer Society's top-grossing event in the world for a decade. On site, participants will give a small blood sample (drawn by a trained phlebotomist), answer a brief survey and provide a few physical measurements. The process won't take more than 30 minutes, Godfrey said.

A more detailed at-home survey asking questions about lifestyle, behavioral factors and other health-related information will then be sent to volunteers. Every few years, a new survey will be mailed to participants, who will update the same information.

The study will take a long-term dedication, but Godfrey, a participant herself, said it's worth it.

"It's an easy thing to do in the midst of the biggest party that Gwinnett ever sees," Godfrey said. "I think that a lot of people think the same way as I do, who have had the personal tragedy (of cancer) happen to someone they love."

The initial study in the series, CPS-1, helped establish the link between smoking and lung cancer decades ago. CPS-2 linked obesity to cancer risk, Godfrey said.

For more information, visit cancer.org/cps3 or call toll free at 1-888-604-5888. Godfrey asked that interested participants email her at judy.godfrey@cancer.org prior to Relay for Life so proper accommodations can be made.