Half a million ounces of prevention may be worth a future cure

October 25, 2012 | by Shawn Le

Photo of diverse group of people jumping Perfectly healthy is perfectly all right for a cancer prevention study.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) wants you as a new recruit. They’re undertaking a cancer prevention study that’s looking to enroll half a million men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The ACS describes the Cancer Prevention Study-3 this way:

The goal of CPS-3 is to better understand ways to prevent cancer. Once a person has cancer, the body has been affected by the disease, treatment, and/or lifestyle changes as a result of the diagnosis. For this reason, we strongly encourage individuals without a history of cancer to enroll.

They also note how much the study needs a variety of people:

Without participation from diverse populations, researchers will not be able to examine factors related to cancer prevention/occurrence in those populations. Currently, there are no other studies of this magnitude in the U.S. that enable researchers to look at various racial/ethnic populations.

City of Hope’s role

Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., chief of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, and Kimlin Ashing-Giwa, Ph.D., professor of population sciences, received a grant from the ACS to support their work on CPS-3 in Los Angeles County.

As a geneticist, Weitzel has conducted groundbreaking research into mutations in the BRCA family of genes. Those mutations increase women’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Weitzel’s ongoing research has identified a BRCA mutation that may affect more than a quarter of Latino women — putting generations of the women at higher risk of cancer.

Channel 2 News, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, recently interviewed Weitzel about his work and the CPS-3.

Ashing-Giwa, for her part, focuses on addressing the disparities in treatment and outcomes between patients with different access and cultural approaches to medicine.

Together, Weitzel and Ashing-Giwa are working not only to increase understanding of the causes of cancer, but how best to educate the diverse, multi-ethnic public about how they can prevent cancer.

For more information on the ACS’ Cancer Prevention Study-3, visit their website at www.cancer.org and enter keyword "CPS-3."

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