A major cancer prevention study is going to take place in Rochester. Elected leaders joined officials in the medical community Wednesday to ask people in the Rochester area to join the fight against cancer.
Leading physicians in cancer research throughout Rochester say it's an exploratory procedure, and the results may surprise or even stump them.
"We're all waiting anxiously to see what we might learn from this one, which may include ways to prevent cancer," said Matt Flanigan, American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study 3 is a long-term, national study expected to offer a clearer perspective into the causes of cancer.
The Cancer Society is asking men and women ages 30-65 years old, who have never been diagnosed with cancer, to participate.
"Two thirds of the cancers that are prevalent today are preventable through lifestyle change," said Flanigan.
Previous studies that began as early as 1959 have linked cigarette smoking and obesity to cancer, but doctors say these cases are not definitive.
"I see lots of people every day who don't smoke a day in their life, who do the right things, and they get these nasty cancers," said Dr. Prad Phatak, Rochester General Hospital.
This anonymous study begins with a 45-minute online survey. Once enrolled, participants will have small blood samples taken. The study will include 300,000 people nationally; 1,000 from Rochester.
"Ultimately, people taking part in the survey who are cancer-free today will be diagnosed with cancer," Flanigan said. "It's a harsh reality. That's why we work so hard at this."
Participants will have to repeat the survey every two years. It's hard to think that some of the people enrolled in this survey will be diagnosed with cancer themselves at some point. Scientists will then examine the years of blood samples and determine potential indicators.
"Many of these cancers are still very difficult to treat. We need to work at the front end, stop them from happening in the first place if we can."
Enrollment will begin on May 14 and continue until May 18. Residents who would like to apply to be part of this study can start with an online survey.