“My goal is to try to get as many willing participants as possible,” said Koko Panossian, chair of the survey program for Glendale. “This could be a way for people to give back and fight back against cancer.”
The organization’s first cancer prevention study, which started in 1982, proved the link between smoking and lung cancer. The second study, which started 10 years later, determined the connection between obesity and cancer risk.
A large percentage of the first two survey populations have become elderly, so American Cancer Society officials determined the need for a new survey population.
Survey organizers want a diverse group of participants, which is one of the reasons Glendale was chosen for an enrollment site, Panossian said.
“The more diverse of a group, the better the study is going to be,” he said.
Panossian got involved with the Relay for Life event after his aunt was diagnosed with cancer. He said that most people have been touched by cancer in some way, and taking part in the study is a great way to join the cause.
One in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Study organizers said the more information people have about cancer risks, the more likely they are to make healthier choices. People are much more aware about the dangers of smoking and pay more attention because concrete links were established, they said.
“We have already come a long way,” Panossian said.
Enrollment in the study should take about a half-hour and must be done at an enrollment site.
Participants are required to donate a small blood sample, give a waist measurement and fill out a brief application.
Participants will also be asked to fill out a survey about every two years on lifestyle choices.
Questions will address topics such as eating and exercise habits and sun exposure, among others. Medical conditions will also be tracked throughout the study.
All information will be kept confidential, organizers said.
Paula Devine, chairwoman of the city’s Commission on the Status of Women, will be volunteering at the study’s enrollment tent.
The commission has been focusing on women’s health issues this year, so the event is especially relevant, she said.
“It is a research study, and it will track people for years,” she said. “That has to lead to more information.”
MELANIE HICKEN covers City Hall. She may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at email@example.com.