Local Health


Researchers will examine potential risks

By BRITTANY TATE The Brunswick News

Connie Hiott participated in a survey for cancer research a few years ago and is now trying to get other people involved in a new study.

"It's a way of giving back, and it's helping your children and your children's children, so that cancer is eradicated," said Hiott, an administrative assistant with the American Cancer Society unit at Brunswick. "It's such an important way to attribute factors to cancer, and you can really make a difference in someone's life."

This study will be designed to attempt to identify possible new and emerging cancer risks.

The findings of broad sweep research are clear: Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, with the National Cancer Institute projecting that 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed this year, in addition to the 13.7 million Americans who have already been diagnosed.

On the good news side, the institute found that cancer death rates declined among men and women, among all major racial and ethnic groups, and for all of the most common cancer sites, including lung, colon and rectum, female breast, and prostate. However, rates continued to increase for melanoma of the skin, among men, and for cancers of the liver, pancreas and uterus.

The American Cancer Society found that the number of people with a history of cancer is growing because of the aging of the population.

In a new study, Kelley Spaeder, senior community manager of the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society, 3011 Hampton Ave., Brunswick, says Glynn County residents will be able to participate in a Cancer Society study called the Cancer Prevention Study-3.

Spaeder says for the study the society is looking for 300 participants locally to enroll so that researchers can identify new and emerging cancer risks.

"Individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study are encouraged to sign up," Spaeder said.

"Those who choose to enroll will simply fill out a comprehensive survey packet about health history, provide a small blood sample - to be collected by trained phlebotomists - and provide a waist measure. Participants will periodically be sent a follow-up questionnaire for the next 20 to 30 years."

Individuals who have had basal or squamous cell skin cancers can also enroll.

Data from the study will be added to society studies that were begun in the 1950s. Previous studies, for example, identified links such as between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and air pollution and heart and lung diseases.

However, lifestyle, behavioral and other factors since the most recent cancer prevention study was done in 1982 have made it time for the study to be updated.

"The voluntary, long-term commitment by participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come." Spaeder said. "Taking an hour or so every few years to fill out a survey - and potentially save someone from being diagnosed with cancer in the future - is a commitment that thousands of volunteer participants have already made," Spaeder said.

"We're looking for more like-minded individuals in Glynn County to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations."

Sign Up

Enrollment for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-3 can be done online at www.CPS3GlynnCounty.org or by phone at 888-604-5888. Blood samples and waist measurements will be taken from 4 to 7:30 p.m. March 12 and from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 14 at the Brunswick hospital of Southeast Georgia Health System, 2415 Parkwood Drive, Brunswick, and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 13 at St. William Catholic Church, 2300 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island. Enrollment must be completed before those dates. For details, call 265-7177 and select Option 3 from the user menu.