Saturday, September 7th, 2013
By Shelley Grieshop
Wanted: Area volunteers for cancer study
Maria Stein woman seeks answers for increase in disease
  CELINA - Mary Eyink would like nothing more than to end the suffering caused by cancer.
The 65-year-old Maria Stein woman lost her mother and sister to the disease and wants to know how to stop the tireless monster from attacking victims of all ages.
"Since people are getting cancer more and more, we need to find out where this is coming from, whether it is pesticides put on crops, things put in the landfill ... or some other reason," Eyink said. "We need an answer."
From 2000-2008, 819 residents in Mercer County and 928 residents of Auglaize County died of cancer - the second leading cause of death in both counties, according to 2012 community health assessments. Cancer was blamed on nearly one-fourth of all deaths during that timeframe in both counties.
Eyink hopes to help ongoing research by participating in the 20- to 30-year Cancer Prevention Study-3, which will analyze the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors of people like her who've not been diagnosed with cancer.
Lynne Ayres, director of research communications for the American Cancer Society in Dublin, said the data gathered from volunteer subjects across the nation will be compared with information from those with cancer to determine likely risk factors, best prevention methods and treatment.
"This is the fourth largest prevention study the American Cancer Society has conducted since the 1950s," she said.
The reason for doing long-term population studies is simple, she said.
"Basically, because they help saves lives, and the American Cancer Society is committed to research that will provide evidence about the causes and prevention of cancer," Ayres said.
She explained that our bodies and cells experience changes over decades when the initiation of cancer is possible.  
"So these long term studies are vital to our understanding of who gets cancer and who doesn't and how to prevent it," she added.  
The national ACS organization hopes to enroll at least 300,000 men and women ages 30 to 65 into the CPS-3 grassroots study. The local goal is 416 people from Mercer, Auglaize and Van Wert; the total number registered to date is 170.
CPS-3 is the third and final study by the epidemiology research program of the ACS. CPS-1 found that smoking causes lung cancer; the second study linked obesity, among other things, to the disease.
Study volunteers for CPS-3 will sign a consent form, complete a survey, provide a few physical measurements such as waist size and give a small blood sample. They also will be asked to complete a more comprehensive baseline survey at home and every few years update their information.
All personal data received by ACS remains confidential. No names are associated with any information after enrollees sign up, Ayres said.
"All study materials will be stored in a locked facility and secured computer files, and your personal contact information will be kept in separate files accessible only to a limited number of CPS staff," she said.
Eyink said she was persuaded to participate in the CPS-3 study by a nurse and her daughter, Renee Hartings, who works in the medical field and also is enrolling in the study.
"I am very passionate about this study because I have had cancer affect both sides of my family," Hartings said. "It is becoming so prevalent in our area, and the victims are getting younger and younger."
Hartings described the study as a "once in a lifetime opportunity to help change the world for the better." The mother-daughter duo said they hear almost weekly about someone newly-diagnosed with cancer and they fear for their loved ones.
"I worry about my children and grandchildren," Eyink said. "I pray that God helps us find a cure."
Hartings said the cancer study is an easy way for everyone to be involved in finding a cure.
"It would be awesome if our grandchildren some day talked about 'this thing called cancer' that used to be such a major health problem, like we are able to talk about the illnesses that used to be so prevalent in our grandparents' early days," she said.

Cancer research study qualifications outlined:
Qualifications for volunteers
• Men and women between ages 30 and 65
• Must be cancer free

For an appointment:
Contact Marybeth Torsell at marybeth.torsell@cancer.org or 888-604-5888 or 888-227-6446 ext. 5101.
Enrollment sites/dates:
• Noon-5:30 p.m Sept. 25, Gaylord E. Leslie Wellness Center (Van Wert Hospital), conference room
• 2-5:30 p.m. Sept. 26, Wright State University-Lake Campus, James F. Dicke Hall, Celina
• 2-7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Marys, conference room
• 1-6:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, conference room
• 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Grand Lake Regional Cancer Center, Celina, conference room
For more information visit www.westcentralcps3.org
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