This April, the American Cancer Society will offer a unique and potentially life-changing opportunity to the tri-city area. On Saturday, April 24 the non-profit organization will host Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). The research project will be hosted at Oakdale High School between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., in conjunction with Oakdale’s Ninth Annual Relay for Life.
The uniqueness of this opportunity lies in the numbers. While the Cancer Prevention Studies are not new, the amount of communities the study is offered at each year is limited. For the 2010 Relay for Life season, only 14 of 385 Relays in California have been chosen as a host site. Oakdale has the significance of being among those 14 locations. Modesto hosted the study in 2008 and Turlock in 2009.
The life-changing part lies in the study. For every person who has walked a loved one through a cancer diagnosis, CPS-3 is a way to dig deeper into the problem. As people hold the hand of a loved one, post chemo, and look to the sky perhaps asking, ‘why?’ … the study is a way to help find out.
Simply put, the ‘research’ part of the fundraising dollar, which has been talked about for years, is now coming to Oakdale and ACS needs the help of 200 dedicated people. The study is being hosted during the Oakdale Relay event, but it is not restricted to Oakdale residents. Persons from throughout the tri-cities area of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon that are interested in making the commitment are encouraged to attend and become part of the study.
“It’s a special thing that we were asked to be a CPS-3 participant,” Cheryl Brunk, American Cancer Society Director, Community Services, said. “It’s really pretty awesome that we’re having this.”
Jill Clayton, CPS-3 Chairperson, views the study as the ultimate opportunity in volunteerism.
“I know this probably sounds funny, but as a kid, I always heard about the nurse’s studies,” Clayton said. “I thought that was such a cool thing.
“Now, in my 40’s to have the opportunity to help with something that means something … to actually put my life, my behaviors, my habits on paper and have it help in some way, is an amazing opportunity.”
According to literature published by the American Cancer Society, previous studies have provided invaluable insight into the causes of cancer. Results of such studies include the impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions, substantial effects of cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke on lung cancer and the significant impact of obesity in relation to the risk of dying from cancer.
“You do not have to be from Stanislaus County to be a part of the study,” Brunk stated. “You can be from anywhere, USA.”
“They just have to meet the criteria,” Clayton added.
The ‘criteria’ begins with the commitment. Enrollees must be committed to participating in periodic surveys (by mail) over the course of 20 to 30 years. They must be between the ages of 30 and 65 years of age and have never been diagnosed with cancer.
“Through the life of the study, enrollees will be asked to complete surveys amounting in total to less than a 24-hour relay event,” Clayton said.
She also explained that on the day of enrollment, persons interested in the study will be asked to complete the first part of their enrollment form (with the larger portion following in the mail the following week). A confidential waist measurement will be taken (in centimeters) and a certified, trained phlebotomist will collect a small amount of blood.
“They are not officially enrolled until they do the baseline study, which is mailed,” Clayton stated, adding, however, that the details gathered on the sign-up day are just as crucial.
Clayton and Brunk both enrolled in the study in 2008 at Modesto’s Relay for Life. To date they have each received one survey by mail, which Clayton said she completed over the course of a few days at her leisure.
Both women agree that while study is both important and critical, so too, are the enrollees that make the commitment.
“We are looking for quality not quantity,” Clayton said. “This, too, costs ACS money, so we want people to enroll who are dedicated to seeing it through.”
Clayton also made mention of cancer survivors and their critical role in helping with the study.
“The passion that you get from these survivors and their family and friends is just amazing,” she said. “This is their time to call in that one last favor.
“To the people who brought them meals or took them to chemo when they were sick. The people who said, ‘anything you need just let me know.’ This is what we need.”
Clayton said she is glad she enrolled.
“The selfless of volunteering always makes me feel good,” she said of her commitment to the study.
“The opportunity to be a part of cancer research in Oakdale,” Brunk added of the importance of the study. “It’s not going to happen again.”
Enrollment in the study will be done from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 at the Relay for Life site at Oakdale High School. For more information on CPS-3, the Oakdale enrollment and other upcoming enrollments throughout the United States, visit www.cancer.org/cps3, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-604-5888.