Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Cancer research would not be possible without people who are willing to help and the American Cancer Society is recruiting local people for its next long-term research project.
It only happens once every 20 or 30 years and takes thousands of American volunteers across the county.
“It’s really easy to do and we are in desperate need of people to come out and sign up,” Glenn Callihan said.
Participants must be between 30 and 65 years of age and have not had cancer. You take follow-up surveys every two or three years for the next 20 to 30 years and you provide a blood sample once in year one.
“Those samples get sent to Atlanta and they are kept on file and then if someone is diagnosed with cancer, then we are going to pull those blood samples back out and start doing some detailed studies to find out if there are any links there,” Callihan said.
Critical cancer research comes from this study. For instance, the work done in the 50s and 60s led to the Surgeon General’s warning about the dangers of smoking.
“Back in the 50s and 60s, our board members were sitting around the table smoking cigarettes. It has really changed society as a whole,” Callihan said.
In the 80s and 90s, researchers identified risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise and poor nutrition. Now, the American Cancer Society hopes you will spend an hour a year to help fight cancer.
“It’s about the amount of time you spend eating dinner. Just one time for the first year and then after that it’s every two or three years — not even an every year thing,” Callihan said.
By December, 115,000 people are needed nationally, with 950 of them coming from our region.
“We are celebrating our 100th birthday this year in May and we have a lot of stuff going on and now we think we are writing the final chapter in the fight against this disease and our new slogan is ‘Help us finish the fight,’” Callihan said.
Registration can be handled over the phone — or through the American Cancer Society website.