Volunteers sought for national cancer study

American Cancer Society seeks more answers to prevent, combat disease

Mar. 20, 2013
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Take part in the study

The American Cancer Society is seeking volunteer participants to take part in a 20-year study to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
Requirements include:
• Willingness to make a long-term commitment to the study, which involves completing periodic follow-up surveys at home
• Must be between the ages of 30 and 65
• Never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer)
How to participate:
Enrollment is free and will take place between May 7 and May 18 at various locations around northeastern Wisconsin. Fox Cities locations include: Neenah-Menasha YMCA, 8 a.m. to noon, May 7; Fox West YMCA, 8 a.m. to noon, May 8; Heart of the Valley YMCA, 4 to 8 p.m., May 9; Apple Creek YMCA, noon to 4 p.m., May 9; St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, 2 to 6 p.m. May 9; and Appleton YMCA, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 11.
To learn more, go to www.cps3newi.org or call 888-604-5888.

Watch the video

Go to postcrescent.com to hear cancer survivor Kathi Hansen of Wrightstown discuss why she is volunteering time to help the American Cancer Society find participants in northeastern Wisconsin for a new research study to find ways to fight the disease.


Sunday is a big milestone day for Wrightstown resident Kathi Hansen.

It marks a decade since Hansen, 58, learned she had breast cancer.

Since the diagnosis, Hansen has undergone treatments including chemotherapy and a mastectomy, and doctors now tell her she appears to be cancer free.

Hansen says she is alive today because of medical advancements and the research conducted to improve cancer treatment. She wants to help the American Cancer Society find people to volunteer for a long-term study to enable researchers to advance treatments and prevention.

» Video: Cancer survivor recruits study participants

“People who are cancer survivors like me are alive because of advancements made in research but really, the new research hopes to get at what causes cancer and what can be done to prevent it in the first place,” Hansen said. “This study is about finding answers to those questions so people in the future don’t have to be diagnosed with cancer.”

The American Cancer Society wants to find 300,000 adults, including up to 2,000 between the ages of 30 and 65 from northeastern Wisconsin, to take part in the 20-year study.

Jen Thompson, a representative for the American Cancer Society, said the length of the study allows researchers to monitor people over time. If participants in the study eventually develop cancer, researchers will try to determine how it happened.

“What we’re really trying to do is find correlations of why people may or may not get (cancer),” Thompson said.

She said researchers also hope to determine whether someone develops cancer because of family history or genetic links, environmental issues or lifestyle choices.

“The goal is to take what we can from the research to better educate the public,” Thompson said.

The latest American Cancer Society data forecasts Wisconsin will see 31,000 cancer cases this year and could see 11,000 cancer-related deaths in 2013.

The last extensive national cancer society study was conducted between 1982 and 2012.

Thompson said past studies found a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, which led to the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning about the risks of smokers developing the disease.

Hansen said anything that can help with early detection and prevention is a must. She learned she had cancer after a routine mammogram.

Hansen said she had her first mammogram at age 40. Her cancer was discovered when she was 48.

“I’m a big believer in annual mammograms,” she said.

Hansen learned she was winning the battle against cancer after about nine months of treatment in 2003. She initially required rechecks every three months, but now only needs to be examined annually for cancer.

Support from family, friends and others living with disease helped her get through the difficult time.

“For a while I didn’t want to hear anything about it, but at the same time (my doctors) also would say, ‘Here’s what we can do about it.’” Hansen said.

— Larry Avila: 920-993-1000, ext. 292, of lavila@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @LarryAvila

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