Terri Walters, radiation oncology nurse at Western Baptist Hospital, gets her blood drawn by Brett Meyers during open enrollment for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study 3 at Western Baptist in April. The second round of open enrollment will begin Thursday at Lourdes hospital.
It was the very first cancer prevention study that helped conclude the link between smoking and lung cancer.
Now nearly 40 years after that study’s conclusion — on the day the nation recognizes the Great American Smokeout to end tobacco use — local residents have a chance to make their own difference in aiding cancer research.
Nationwide, the American Cancer Society is seeking 300,000 people to donate a portion of their time to participate in the newest cancer prevention study.
And people in the immediate area are particularly encouraged to join the landmark CPS-3, as open enrollment begins at Lourdes hospital on Thursday.
“The study would be more beneficial, having a broader demographic to follow,” said Eric Walker, associate director for mission support, communications and marketing with the Mid-South Division of the ACS.
The study seeks people between 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer.
At the enrollment, participants will complete a survey, receive a measurement of their waist, and give a blood sample. The enrollment takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
Following the enrollment, participants will receive a follow-up health survey every few years to help researchers document the study.
Though people were encouraged to submit for an enrollment appointment online prior to the open enrollment date, walk-ins are welcome, Walker said.
Enrollment will be noon to 6 p.m. Thursday; 7 to 11 a.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Borders Community Room of the Marshall Nemer Pavilion.
“There’s that unique connection that we are going to start the CPS-3 enrollment on the Great American Smokeout day,” Walker said.
“The correlation being that the smoke out played off the initial prevention study that found that link between smoking and lung cancer.”
With 4,430 Kentuckians diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 3,500 related deaths this year in the state, the 37th Great American Smokeout nationwide will also fall on Thursday.
“Estimating that there will be more than 4,000 people in Kentucky who will hear the words ‘you have lung cancer’ this year, and then that approximately 3,500 will die from lung cancer in Kentucky in the same year is a sobering thought,” Walker said.
“So hopefully on this day, those who currently smoke or use tobacco products will decide to kick the habit and start to stop for good.”
Smokers who wish to quit may call the ACS for free telephone coaching at 1-800-227-2345 for tobacco cessation help.
The society also has online tools at www.cancer.org/Smokeout, such as a crave button and a quit clock to help smokers plan towards kicking the habit for good. For more information on CPS-3 enrollment, visit www.cps3lourdeshospital.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.