The American Cancer Society aims to recruit 500 people from the Ark-La-Tex to participate in the third generation of a cancer prevention study that first began in the 1960s. The organization has partnered with the YMCA in Shreveport and two other organizations to host sign-up events for the study. It involves taking an initial waist measurement and drawing a small blood sample.
Sheena Robertson, health initiatives representative for the American Cancer Society in Shreveport, said the first phase of the study revealed a direct correlation between lung cancer and cigarette smoke, something that is common knowledge today. But there is still a lot to discover in the new study, she said, that will draw on 300,000 participants nationwide.
“Our goal is to see if by looking at our demographic data if we can see any changes, or any relationships/correlations between the lifestyle, genetic and behavioral factors, in the hopes we can find a cure for cancer," Robertson said.
People who have been diagnosed with cancer are ineligible. The study will involve follow-up surveys every one to three years. Misty Alexander, wellness director at the YMCA in Shreveport, said the people who go to the Y are a natural fit for the study.
“We have a really great demographic – socioeconomic status ranges all over the board. So, I think it’s a great subculture for the American Cancer Society to tap into, and our members tend to be a little more community oriented," Alexander said.
The study sign-up drive will run from July 23-27. Robertson said she still needs about 250 people to sign up in the Ark-La-Tex. More information is at cps3northla.org.