Last updated: February 19. 2013 10:33PM - 526 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – Residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania have the opportunity to become part of a long-term, nationwide study that seeks to identify factors that cause cancer.

The American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3) seeks to enroll 300,000 people nationwide, including approximately 1,200 from Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Pike counties.

The study will play an important role in the American Cancer Society's efforts to understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer, according to the Cancer Society.

Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?' In many cases, we don't know the answer, Alpa V. Patel, the principal investigator of the CPS-3 study, said in a press release.

CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer, he said.

Those from ages 30 to 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are eligible to participate.

The study, which will follow participants over 20 to 30 years, entails filling out a detailed questionnaire regarding the person's lifestyle, behavior and other factors may that affect health, said Jennifer Washney, a health initiative representative for the Cancer Society.

Participants, all of whom will remain anonymous, will be asked to fill out an initial survey. They then will be sent periodic follow-up surveys, roughly every three to four years, Washney said. The surveys will take about an hour to complete, she said.

Those chosen for the study will also be asked to give a small blood sample and will have their waist circumference measured.

The study follows a similar study launched in 1982. Changes in lifestyle and the understanding of cancer prompted the American Cancer Society to begin a new study.

Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk, Patel said. CPS-3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks, and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved.

Anyone interested in learning more about the study may attend an informational session that will be held today at 6 p.m. at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins complex at 38 Coal St., Wilkes-Barre.

Information also can be obtained by calling the Cancer Society at 570-562-9749 or online at www.cancer.org/cps3

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