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Connellsville area residents encouraged to participate in national cancer research study

Nancy Henry | for the Daily Courier
Individuals can be life savers by joining the Cancer Prevention Study-3. Enrollment will take place Nov. 6 at the Carnegie Free Library in Connellsville. Back, from left, are Linda Shearer, a cancer survivor, and Natalie Obradovich, account representative for the American Cancer Society. Library director Casey Sirochman (seated) urges area residents to take part in this historic research study.

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By Nancy Henry
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 7:33 a.m.

Area residents will get a chance to help researchers better understand cancer and potentially save lives.

The American Cancer Society is conducting a national study, and the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville is a location for volunteers to sign up and participate in the information-gathering to help in cancer research now and later.

“I brought this study into Carnegie Free Library for a personal reason,” library director Casey Sirochman said. “My father-in-law was just diagnosed with cancer. I feel like I need to do something to fight back. What better way to do that than to get involved with a national cancer study?

“I was watching ‘Pittsburgh Today Live' on television, and they were talking about people making appointments in Washington, Pa., to be a part of this national study. And I said to myself, ‘I don't have to travel to Washington. I will get it here,' ” she continued. “I contacted them to come here, and so now our population can be a part of the research.”

The society is looking for individuals between 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to be part of a long-term research study. There is a one-time enrollment at the library on Nov. 6. The appointment takes only 30 minutes and can be made for anytime between 3 and 7 p.m. that day.

After enrollment, the study will survey participants by mail every two years to update health information and to ask about any changes in their environment, lifestyle, exercise routine, etc. What the study will be looking for is differences between the people who get cancer and the people who don't. Participants also will receive a newsletter reporting study results as time goes by.

“This is an interesting long-term research study that will enroll 300,000 people nationwide,” explained Natalie Obradovich, account representative for the society. “This is Cancer Prevention Study 3, or CPS-3, the third national study. The first one, CPS-1, happened in the 1950s and found the link between smoking and cancer. The next one was in the 1980s, CPS-2, and continued to look at smoking and also found the obesity link to certain kinds of cancer.

“We are anxious to find out what the CPS-3 will tell us,” she added. “There are so many new factors in the world today, and there is such a cross-section of those in this area, including nutrition, environment, the type of industry that used to be here. That's why we are hoping the community will really rally around and join this national cancer prevention study. We want to see how we can prevent this horrible disease.

“If you could prevent one person from hearing the words, ‘You have cancer,' would you? This can be a powerful study.”

Obradovich added that 100 years ago the American Cancer Society began the fight of a lifetime — the fight to end cancer. “Today we need your help to finish the fight,” she said.

The society's Epidemiology Research Program is inviting men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have no personal history of cancer to join this historic study. The ultimate goal is to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the United States.

The purpose of CPS-3 is to better understand the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and to ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health problem for this and future generations. CPS-3 is a grass-roots effort across the country through which individuals can advance cancer research by participating actively in a historic research study.

“If you have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer), you can volunteer today for a cancer-free tomorrow. If you cannot participate, urge someone who can to join the study in your honor,” Obradovich said. “Participation is easy. On-site enrollment will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes and will involve simply completing a short survey packet, providing a waist circumference measurement and providing a small blood sample (similar to a doctor's visit and taken by a certified, trained phlebotomist), done in privacy at the library.”

“I want to make a difference and the library wants to promote health literacy events,” Sirochman said. “This is a way to do both. Our goal is to enroll 100 people. There is absolutely no cost to be included. The commitment is a one-half-hour initial meeting, probably the same time that you take to eat dinner, and follow-up surveys by mail every two years — just a little time that could make a huge impact.”

Make an appointment online soon to choose a time at or call 1-888-604-5888.

“Make sure you tell your friends and everyone you know about this historic opportunity to save lives and fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in your community. CPS-3 is something we can do together to help in the fight against this disease. Volunteer for a cancer-free tomorrow. The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays,” Obradovich said.

For those unable to attend the Connellsville enrollment event, there are three other opportunities in the area: Leechburg, Johnstown and Greensburg. More information is available on the website.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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