DENVER (CBS4) – The American Cancer Society is looking for hundreds of thousands of volunteers. They’ll need to make a 20-year commitment, but the payoff will be a better understanding of what causes cancer and how to prevent it.

It will be the third of the major cancer studies. The first began back in 1959 with a million adult men and women. The second began in 1982 with 1.2 million. The research has yielded important information that has helped save lives.

Cigarette smoking is linked to lung cancer; obesity may increase chances of dying from cancer. They are facts discovered through the two major studies of adults in the U.S.

“Cancer will become the No. 1 killer in the world. It will overtake heart disease this year sometime; maybe it already has,” Denver Nuggets coach George Karl told a group of people at a news conference to launch the study.

Karl is a cancer survivor and a crusader. On Tuesday he urged Coloradans to take part in the new cancer prevention study.

“If we can come together as a team we can then unify our fight and destroy and defeat a disease that I think is a tremendous opponent,” Karl said.

The study will follow 300,000 U.S. men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. One-thousand Coloradans will be enrolled.

Those who are chosen to participate will give a blood sample, sign a consent form, complete an annual survey, and make a 20-year commitment.

Bill Marcum is on board.

“I have a nephew who’s dying from cancer, so it’s very dear to me,” Marcum said.

The study will look at how genetics, lifestyle and the environment influence cancer risk.

“The research is trying to find what causes cancer, and if we find out what causes it, maybe we can stop it from happening,” Karl said.

Quest Diagnostics is a partner. Enroll in the study from now until Nov. 19. Visit to learn more about the study and to find out how to enroll.


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