American Cancer Society seeks volunteers for study

The American Cancer Society is looking for Southern Oregon volunteers interested in participating in an ambitious, decades-long study to prevent cancer for future generations. It'll cost you just a little blood and a few minutes of your time each year for 20 to 30 years.

The ACS is gathering about 300,000 volunteers from across the nation to study their lifestyles, eating habits, exercise routines and other factors that might shed some light on why cancer remains so prevalent throughout the U.S.

The goal is to enroll men and women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds who are willing to stick with the study for the next few decades.

Volunteers will be screened from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center's Smullin Education Center.

Volunteers are asked to make an appointment time for enrollment at before Wednesday. "The breadth of this study is ambitious compared to previous studies we've done," said Dr. Mia Gaudet, the director of genetic epidemiology for the ACS.

Since the 1950s, ACS studies have led to important discoveries, such as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and the role obesity plays in the risk of several cancers, ACS officials said in a news release.

Gaudet, who is based in Atlanta, said current generations do not participate in as much physical exercise as in the past. One aspect of the proposed study will look at how a more sedentary lifestyle might lead to increased cancer risk.

"Depending on what we find, we want to be able to provide people with guidelines on how to avoid the risk of cancer," Gaudet said.

The study is open to residents between age 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. Volunteers must be willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which calls for filling out surveys periodically over the next two to three decades.

Though cancer survivors cannot participate in the surveys, they are urged to volunteer in getting the word out about the study, Gaudet said.

"They often make the best spokespeople for these studies because they have firsthand experience with cancer," Gaudet said. "Their testimonials are very convincing in getting people to participate."

Volunteers will read and sign a consent form, which will ask for detailed lifestyle information. This information is confidential.

Their waists also will be measured and a small blood-draw will be performed by a certified phlebotomist. There is no cost to participate.

"We have already collected 200,000 people so we are well on our way," Gaudet said.

The enrollment event at RRMC is the first of three opportunities in Southern Oregon to enroll in the study. There will be enrollments in Medford on June 1 and June 7. For more information, visit or contact the American Cancer Society at 888-604-5888 or

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email

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