GREELEY, Colo. (AP) – For Sheila English-Ogden, the fight to create a cancer-free world is personal.

Her son, now 26, was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 10, and her husband was diagnosed with melanoma two years ago.

Like others who work with the American Cancer Society, English-Ogden is looking forward to a time when no one gets cancer, and she hopes that by participating in a new round of the organization’s prevention study – kicking off this June – she’ll help make that happen.

“I want to make a difference for my grandchildren and their children,” English-Ogden said. “I don’t want anybody else to have to go through that.”

An initial study conducted in the ’50s by the American Cancer Society was the first to identify links between smoking and cancer. Two subsequent long-term cancer- prevention studies revealed more information on that link, as well as other risk factors for cancer, like obesity.

Each cancer-prevention study follows participants over 25-30 years, and as the second study wraps up, the organization is calling for participants for the Cancer Prevention Study-3.

“This really is an incredible opportunity for the residents of northern Colorado to make a difference in the future of cancer prevention,” English-Ogden said.

As a breast cancer survivor of 24 years this month, Jean Morrell can’t participate in the study, which calls for participants 30 to 65 who haven’t been diagnosed with cancer. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society to encourage others to sign up.

“We want to have more birthdays,” Morrell said. “This is a way for people to help others have more birthdays by participating in the cancer prevention study and helping us understand cancer.”

The study has already gained more than 200,000 participants, and the organization is hoping to have 300,000. After signing up and scheduling an appointment, participants fill out a baseline survey in which they answer questions about their medical history. At the appointment, participants sign a consent form, complete a survey, and provide physical measurements and a small blood sample.

From then on, they’ll receive a packet in the mail every two to three years so they can update their health information.

“It’s a very simple thing for people to do, and the information that’s gathered can be extremely helpful to other people,” Morrell said.

Linda Motter, who leads the community outreach portion of the project in northern Colorado, said those who aren’t eligible, like Jean, can support the study by signing up to encourage others to participate. Motter, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society who signed up to participate five years ago, said to her, participating is both a tangible way to fight back against cancer and a way to prove to her two young daughters that she did all she could.

“It’s also a way for me to look in their eyes, and say I did everything I can to give them a cancer-free world,” Motter said.

LINK: American Cancer Society

– By WHITNEY PHILLIPS, Greeley Tribune

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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