Cancer prevention study to be conducted in central Massachusetts
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Region – Preparation to enroll eligible residents of central Massachusetts as participants in the Cancer Prevention Study–3 (CPS-3) was discussed at a March 26 press conference at Worcester City Hall. Among the five sites hosting enrollment is the Boroughs Family Branch YMCA in Westborough, which serves nine communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough and Westborough. Non-members are welcomed to enroll in CPS-3.
Enrollment will also be available at three locations in Worcester and one in Fitchburg.
Janet McGrail, the state vice president of health initiatives with the American Cancer Society (ACS), expressed appreciation for the hosting organizations.
“They’re donating the space, they’re helping to recruit, and they’re helping us get the word out through the media,” she said. “Across the country, we’re looking for 300,000 individuals who will commit to a 20-year long-term study. Our goal for central Massachusetts is to reach 400 individuals.”
McGrail presented an overview of the previous studies: the Hammond-Horn Study from 1952 through 1955; CPS-1 from 1959 through 1972; and CPS-2, which started in 1982 and is still ongoing. Among the discoveries of those studies were the links between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, and between a larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes.
Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on these studies’ findings, McGrail explained.
“What we’re trying to do is to better understand the genetic, the environmental and lifestyle factors that help prevent cancer,” she said.
Participants must be age 30 to 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer other than basal or squamous cell skin cancer. When enrolling, participants will complete a brief survey, have their waist measured and give a blood sample. The process takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward, they’ll complete a comprehensive survey. ACS will send periodic follow-up surveys.
Betsy Moquin, the director of marketing and advancement at the Boroughs Y, feels partnering with ACS makes perfect sense.
“The three pillars of the Y are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” she said. “It’s not just the Y as an organization helping with this study; it’s really empowering volunteers to get involved.”
The Boroughs Y also recently launched the LiveStrong program for cancer survivors, which is overseen by Christine Salovardos, the wellness director.
“LiveStrong is a 12-week program, offered twice a week, completely free for survivors and their caregivers,” Salovardos explained. “It doesn’t matter what stage of cancer they’re at; they can be in treatment or cancer-free for years. The program gives them the opportunity to connect with people who understand what they’ve gone through in a comfortable environment.”
For information about LiveStrong at the Boroughs Y, contact Salovardos at 508-870-1320 ext. 290.
CPS-3 and LiveStrong dovetail nicely, Moquin noted.
“The ACS study is doing research to prevent the disease down the road, and the LiveStrong program is dealing with the ‘here and now’ of people who are actively surviving and how we can support them,” she said.
Some participants will enroll in CPS-3 in honor of loved ones affected by cancer, McGrail added.
“I have a sister-in-law who’s fighting cancer right now,” she shared. “We’re all trying to figure out how we can best help her. Enrolling into this research is a way we can help cancer patients. Survivors don’t want anyone else to go through what they’ve gone through.”
Enrollment at the Boroughs Y, located at 4 Valente Drive in Westborough, is Thursday, May 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. To make an appointment to enroll at this or other locations, or for more information about CPS-3, visit cancer.org/cps3, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-888-604-5888.
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