Mayor Michael Nutter joined members of the American Cancer Society, Independence Blue Cross and the Parks and Recreation Department and other cancer prevention research organizations to promote a new cancer prevention study during a press conference at City Hall Wednesday.
The press conference was called to raise awareness about a new study, CPS III, which will begin enrollment of participants during this year’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run, scheduled for May 4 and 5.
“We want to ensure that we are raising money to provide as much prevention, detection and treatment as possible,” said Nutter during an interview conducted after the press conference. “There’s also a CPS III study, a huge study, 30,000 people [nationwide] and over 1,000 in the Philadelphia area participating in this long term study.”
According to materials distributed by participating organizations, the goal of the new study is to “enroll a diverse group of 300,000 men and women, ages 30-65, who are relatively healthy and are willing to submit to periodic studies and surveys over the course of several decades.
Previous cancer prevention studies are said to have yielded a wealth of valuable information about cancer — which has resulted in practical prevention efforts such as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, the role obesity can play in the development of the disease and how hormones, diet, physical activity, various medications and vitamins may impact cancer risks.
The previous cancer studies had one significant shortfall:
“Prior to this, the recruitment [for cancer studies] has occurred in the suburbs of Philadelphia through the relays of the American Cancer Society,” said Dr. Carmen Guerra, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “That led to a participant pool that hasn’t been representative of inner cities, and therefore less minority enrollment in the study.”
CPS III hopes to fill this gap by seeking to enroll at least 25 percent of the studies participants from non-white populations.
“Now we hope that we will recruit many more under-represented minorities so we can learn from their information and help them prevent cancer in the future,” said Guerra.
The inclusion of more non-white, ethnically diverse populations is crucial, says Dr. Anil Rustgi, chief of the division of Gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who specializes in cell and molecular biology.
“Unfortunately, cancer effects different ethnic groups at a faster pace and a much higher rate than seen in the general population,” said Rustgi. “This study would like to identify why that is, and how can we make inroads into that.”
While there is much work to be done by researchers and medical practitioners, Rustgi suggests every person can do their part to prevent cancer.
“I would encourage people to think about cancer, to read about it, to educate each other. It’s very critical that we, as a community, do our absolute best to decrease the incidents of cancer - and certainly the deaths caused by it,” said Rustgi.
“We really have to come together as a community to make advances in prevention, diagnosis and therapy of cancer. Individual efforts are extremely critical.”
“It’s a labor of love on the city’s behalf,” says Jim Marino, race director of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. “All the neighbors get involved — from Logan to the Temple area community, all of the Avenue of the Arts crew and gospel choirs — it’s a true city event.”
Enrollment for CPS III will begin during the annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Enrollment Expo will be held at Lincoln Financial Field, Friday May 4th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 5th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Over 40,000 runners participate in this event each year. To date, the run has raised more than $1.4 million for cancer research and prevention, and was named the fastest 10-mile course in the nation by Runners World Magazine.
Those interested in interested in enrolling in the study or learning more can visit www.cancer.org/cps3 on the web or call the American Cancer Society at 1-888-604-5888.
The American Cancer Society seeks to boost local enrollment in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).
The national Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) seeks to recruit 300,000 men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 from various ethnic backgrounds who have never been diagnosed with cancer. The historic 20-year study will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.
“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.”
“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,” said Patel.
This month, the ACS is ramping up enrollment efforts throughout the Philadelphia metro area. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 is being made possible in partnership with Independence Blue Cross at eight different enrollment sites throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding suburban communities. Local enrollment will start April 24 at the Independence Blue Cross Walk at Lunch and continue through May 9.
Alesia Mitchell, an ACS Health Initiatives representative, said the society’s goal is to recruit 1,500 throughout the eight enrollment sites.
“I think people don’t understand that the American Cancer Society is a part of major research like this and its happening right in people’s backyard,” said Mitchell.
“It’s a great effort to be a part of and to actually know that you are one of 300,000 people that are in this fight together.”
The ACS seeks to have at least 25 percent representation of minorities.
Mitchell said that the organization has made an effort to have diverse representation in the CPS-3 study by having local enrollment sites at locations such as Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, West Philadelphia YMCA and Fortaleza Fitness Center.
The push to encourage more minorities to enroll comes as National Minority Cancer Awareness Week is being observed in April 15-21. National Minority Cancer Awareness Week promotes increased awareness of prevention and treatment among those segments of the populations that are at greater risk of developing cancer. The ACS notes that African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival rate of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers.
Veronica Hill-Milbourne, IBC’s director of operations, is supporting the ACS’ efforts to enroll study participants at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. She said it’s important for African Americans become involved in this research effort.
“For African Americans we have a high incident of cancer. It’s so critically important for this research to be done so to understand if it’s our health habits, is it environment factor, is it genetics. What is it that causes us to be so susceptible as a race to this disease?” she questioned.
Hill-Milbourne said information about the CPS-3 study was dissimilated during Enon’s Easter service which draws thousands. Enon is hosting an enrollment event on April 28 from 12 to 5 p.m. at 2800 West Cheltenham Avenue.
For Hill-Milbourne, cancer hits close to home. She recently lost her mother-in-law to cancer.
“Cancer impacted my family significantly on my husband’s side and as a mother I have a very personal interest in helping to understand what causes cancer and how to treat it and if we eradicate this disease, I am all for it,” she said.
Participants must be willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which involves completing periodic follow-up surveys at home. Study participation involves signed a consent form, completing a survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavior and other health-related factors, having the waist circumference measure and giving a small blood sample.
The study was launched last year. December 31 marks the end of enrollment nationwide.
For enrollment information visit www.PhillyCPS3.org or call toll free at 1 (888) 604-5888.