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The American Cancer Society is looking to fill 300,000 spots in a new cancer prevention study called CPS-3.

It's a 20 year-long project that studies how genetics, lifestyle choices and environmental factors can cause or prevent getting cancer.

"We know the causes of cancer to some degree," said Dr. Alpa Patel, principal investigator of the CPS-3. "By looking at all these different factors and the way that they work together, we can get to that point where we can get to understand exactly how and why cancer develops."

In order to be eligible to participate in the CPS-3, you must be 30- to 65-years-old, have no personal history of cancer and be willing to commit to filling out surveys periodically for a long time, which can be more than 20 years. During enrollment, you will be asked to read and sign a consent form, complete a survey, get measurements done and provide a small blood sample.

"We don't ask you to change anything about what you do," Patel said. "The purpose of these studies is to observe what a large population is doing."

By observing the different lifestyle choices or factors it is possible to understand how those increase risk of developing cancer and other diseases.

The link between smoking and cancer was found during the first American Cancer Society Patient Study in the 1950s.

"We were able to show for the first time in a population that smoking was linked to a higher risk of lung cancer," said Patel.

Research is done almost immediately during the study. During the 20 years or more where participants fill out questionnaires, researchers are able to build on the initial findings to develop public health guidelines.

"We look at how much exercise is needed to provide health benefits from studies like these," Patel added.

A huge part of this study is to help survivors understand how they can stay cancer free. With studies like the CPS-3, researchers are able to learn what people can do to lower their risk of cancer coming back by looking at the evidence provided by participants.

In Arizona, the American Cancer society is looking to recruit hundreds of participants. Beginning on Oct. 25 through Dec. 5, the American Cancer Society will be at select locations where residents are invited to sign up.

For more information, click here.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

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