The American Cancer Society is looking for 500,000 people nationwide to help study what lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors cause or prevent the disease, including about 600 participants from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
The cancer prevention study is the third such undertaking by the American Cancer Society, with the first tracking 1 million adults from 1959 to 1972. Previous studies demonstrated the link between cigarette smoking and cancer, as well as the increased risk of cancer in overweight and obese people.
"I believe this is something to really show some big things for our next generation, our children, and our grandchildren," said Dawn Bondy, volunteer chairman for recruitment efforts in Monroe County.
She added: "That doesn't happen too often, that you can participate in research."
Participants are being enrolled next month at Relay For Life events in Monroe and Bowling Green, the only sites in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan this year. Three other sites are in Michigan and two others in Ohio, and enrollment nationwide is being done soley at designated Relay For Life events.
Eligible participants will be enrolled between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. May 16 at Bowling Green High School or from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Monroe County Fairgrounds. No registration is required, and study participants do not need to take part in the relay.
Men and women aged 30 to 65 who never have been diagnosed with cancer are eligible for the study, which is expected to last 20 years. Those who have been diagnosed with squamous or basal cell skin cancers can enroll.
At the designated Relay For Life event, participants will fill out questionnaires, have their waists measured, and have a few vials of blood drawn by phlebotomists. A more detailed questionnaire will arrive by mail within a few weeks to complete to enrollment.
Participants will get questionnaires every two years for the life of the study. The questionnaire should take about 45 minutes to complete, said Laura Libbe, income development coordinator with the American Cancer Society office in Perrysburg.
"It's a significant commitment, but at the same time, it's 45 minutes every two years, which is nothing," Ms. Libbe said.