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Community urged to take part in cancer prevention study

PLATTSBURGH - The American Cancer Society is seeking participants for its latest round of a groundbreaking cancer prevention study.

American Cancer Society representative Joan M. Sterling said she's hoping to build on the success of a 2009 study in which 192 participants originally registered. That number was upped to 240, she said, but ended up resulting in 262 participants screened.

"It just really showed the community was really embracing this cancer prevention study," Sterling said.

Those who participated in the initial registration also did well in responding to important follow-up surveys, Sterling said, resulting in the Plattsburgh area being among the top 11 percent in the country for a response rate. The follow-up surveys are critical to continuing the flow of information for researchers, she said.

"Unfortunately, that's sometimes where the ball gets dropped," Sterling said. "Some people have that excitement when they start participating in the study but then they don't finish it."

The initial CPS-3 study during the 1950s was one that linked smoking tobacco with lung cancer, and ultimately was responsible for the Surgeon General's warning now found on cigarette packs. This most recent study will look at the link between obesity to cancer, Sterling said.

"The study will look at where you lived, where you worked, what your eating habits were, what you weighed in high school, what you weigh now - there's so much information that's asked, but it's important to know all of it," Sterling said.

Laurie Williams, director of the Clinton County Health Department, agreed. Williams participated in the last study and continues to respond to follow-up surveys.

"Screening is paramount to cancer risk prevention and reduction because we know if we can screen somebody early enough and you can catch it early enough, your success rates for cure are much higher and you're actually spending much less money," Williams said. "If a woman or man is identified with cancer and they don't catch it early enough, you're literally spending upwards of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for care."

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