Hundreds join historic cancer prevention study

August 21, 2012

“What if,” asked the flier, “you could prevent even one family from hearing the words, ‘You have cancer’”?

Alex Andrade knew the answer. She would do it.

As someone whose own family has experienced cancer, Andrade, a certified nursing assistant at Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center, responded to the American Cancer Society’s appeal.

Cancer Prevention Study-3 is a historic nationwide effort to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.

"My mother died of cancer,” Andrade says. “By the time it was discovered, it had spread all over. We don’t know where it started.”

Cancer hit the family again. Just two days before Andrade enrolled July 12 in the study, her sister in Mexico had surgery for breast cancer.

Besides joining the research study – expected to enroll at least 300,000 U.S. adults – Andrade faithfully takes a friend to chemo treatments for colon cancer and recently braved the rain at the cancer-fighting Relay for Life in Oregon City.

She and 340 other people joined Cancer Prevention Study-3 during July enrollment events at Providence Portland, Providence St. Vincent and Providence Willamette Falls medical centers and Providence Milwaukie Hospital.

Across the nation, researchers are collecting biometric data from enrollees, who also complete a detailed survey about lifestyle, behavioral and other health factors. The study enrolls people ages 30 to 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer.