Kentucky’s cancer numbers aren’t just high – they’re staggering.
In 2011 alone, the state reported the nation’s highest death rate from cancer and the second highest incident rate of cancer according to the Center for Disease Control.
The American Cancer Society predicts nearly 26,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease this year (roughly Frankfort’s population) and 8,900 will die because of it (nearly Lawrenceburg’s).
But the overwhelming emphasis at Wednesday’s kickoff breakfast for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 wasn’t just on grim figures, it was on beloved faces.
“There’s probably not a person in this room, including myself, who has not been affected by cancer,” said first lady Jane Beshear, speaking to a room of community leaders at the Frankfort Medical Pavilion.
“I haven’t personally dealt with a diagnosis, but I lost my mother to it. My husband – your governor – is a prostate cancer survivor, as are both of his brothers.”
Beshear’s story is similar to many, and those not physically affected but intimately changed, are exactly the people CPS-3 hopes to involve in its nationwide prevention study, regionally headquartered at Frankfort Regional Medical Center.
CPS-3 will enroll at least 300,000 men and women from across the U.S. to participate in a long-term study that aims to understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.
Participants – who don’t have to be Frankfort residents – must be 30-65 years of age, have never been diagnosed with cancer and willing to take periodic surveys.
“Basically, why do some people get cancer and others don’t?” questioned speaker Gina Shatara of the American Cancer Society. “This is what we seek to learn.”
Participants can enroll at FRMC Oct. 18-20 where they’ll be required to complete a consent form and short survey, have their waist measured and give a blood sample. They’ll be sent a comprehensive baseline survey to fill out at home following sign up, and then periodic surveys over time.
According to Shatara, county government will allow employees time to register for the study, and city government may do the same.
Half a century ago, CPS-1 and CPS-2 were responsible for the groundbreaking research that proved smoking often led to an early death and was connected to lung cancer.
“Everyone knows that now,” Shatara said. “Few realize that it took three years, 22,000 volunteers and 188,000 study participants to prove it.”
Currently, 2,500 across Kentucky are signed up for CPS-3 and ACS organizers hope to add at least 300 from the Frankfort area.
“It’s really hard to understand the importance of this because we can’t see it today, but you really just have to trust and have faith that we’ll learn as much from this study as we did from the two before,” said Ayron Corbitt, state vice president for Kentucky ACS.
“As a hospital, we’re very committed to this,” said FRMC CEO Chip Peal, adding that he was already signed up to participate.
Valerie Roberts, a breast cancer survivor and the Compliance Coordinator at FRMC, issued a challenge to those who talk the talk but haven’t had a chance to walk the walk.
“How many times have you heard people say, ‘I would just do anything to help if I could?’” she asked. “Well, this is your chance.”
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR CPS-3
Who: Those who are 30-65 years of age, have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to commit to completing periodic surveys
Where: Frankfort Medical Pavilion, conference rooms B and C
How: Visit cps3frankfort.org or call 1-888-604-5888 to schedule an enrollment appointment
When: Enrollment appointments can be scheduled Oct.18 from 2-7:30 p.m., Oct. 19 from 6-11:30 a.m. or Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.