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Monday, September 17, 2012 - 2:00am

Cancer Researchers Recruiting Georgians

Updated: 2 years ago.
The American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study will last for decades and include at least 300,000 Americans. Researchers are recruiting about 10,000 Georgians to participate. (Photo Courtesy of yarranz via stock.xchng.)

Georgians will soon have an opportunity to sign onto a landmark national cancer study that will help researchers further unravel what causes or contributes to cancer.

The American Cancer Society is starting its third long-range research project, and organizers want about 10,000 Georgians on board.

The Cancer Prevention Study will last for decades and include at least 300,000 Americans. The first in the 1950s helped establish a link between smoking and cancer. The second began in the ‘80s and remains underway.

Principal investigator Alpa Patel said Georgia residents are valuable to the study because of the state’s diverse population and mix of urban and rural areas.

“We know that we have pockets like Atlanta that are largely metropolitan, but the majority of the state is not that way,” Patel said. “So we want to be able to understand how different exposures across Georgia affect cancer development.”

Patel said she is also anxious to enroll rural residents.

“Clearly in the state of Georgia we have a significant amount of rural population that we want to be able to study and that has been relatively underrepresented in previous studies,” she said.

Volunteers have to do an initial in-person questionnaire and give a small blood sample. Then researchers will send follow-up surveys every couple of years. Participation is open to adults ages 30 to 65 who have never had cancer, except for non-melanoma skin cancer.

The cancer society will recruit in the Dalton, Albany and Athens areas in October and November. Hundreds of Rome and Macon residents are already signed on.