MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Changing the face of cancer. That's the objective of a historic study being conducted right now by the American Cancer Society that's asking men and women in the Grand Strand to step up and volunteer.
The study is looking for willing volunteers, men and women, between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer.
This opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) gives you the chance to guide researchers down the path to a cure.
"We're following people for 20-30 years to see what kinds of factors in their environment, in their behavior, and in their genetics can cause or prevent cancer," said Denise Richbourg with the American Cancer Society.
The local branch of the American Cancer Society needs 300 volunteers in the Grand Strand for the study. As of Halloween, the group had 235 people registered.
"This is our individual opportunity to make a difference in changing the face of cancer as we know it," Said Richbourg. "We can actually help the future generations to not have to hear the words 'You Have Cancer'."
Numbers show one-third of all females and one-half of males will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life.
Corrina Hutcherson became one of those diagnosed during a routine check-up in March.
"Three days after my colonoscopy I met with my doctor who performed the colonoscopy," said Hutcherson. "She just looked and my husband and I in her office and said just said, Corrina it's cancer."
Hutcherson underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her body, which she said was the size of a baseball. She's beating her cancer and defying the odds.
Hutcherson's chemotherapy treatments wrap up at the end of October but she said the cancer changed her life. She's now an advocate for the American Cancer Society's study.
She added her main goal is to lower the risk of cancer for her two young boys as they grow up.
"The statistics show that one child out of eight now in their lifetime will get cancer," said Hutcherson. "I don't want my two sons to be part of that statistic."
To join the study, you can begin the enrollment process online by visiting cps3coastalsc.org, filling out the survey and making an appointment on any of the following dates:
Nov. 8: Conway Medical Center, Conway
Nov. 9: Georgetown Memorial Hospital, Georgetown
Nov. 13: 38th Avenue North Fire Station
When filling out the application, you will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form; complete a comprehensive survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavior and other factors related to health; have waist circumference measured; and give a small blood sample.
This survey may take about 45 minutes, and the appointment may take about 15 minutes.
The American Cancer Society will send follow-up surveys to update your information, and will send you newsletters just to keep you in the loop on study updates and results. Richbourg said it's a small sacrifice to make a big difference.
"It took me about 45 minutes to do the initial survey and ten minutes online to schedule my appointment," said Richbourg. "And in two or three years I'll give another 20-30 minutes, it's not a lot of time to give up to save lives."
"Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, 'What caused my cancer?' In many cases, we don't know the answer," said Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., principal investigator of CPS-3.
"CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer." Dr. Patel added, "Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk. 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."
Previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions.
For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit cancer.org/cps3, or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.