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Story Archives: Cancer study seeks participants
|Cancer study seeks participants|
The National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.-gov) is funding the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a cancer research study, and now residents of northeast Louisiana are being asked to participate through a voluntary survey.
The Medical Center of Sicily Island is the site for the survey, according to Liz Huffman, research interviewer for the SCCS and Catahoula Parish Hospital District #2.
"We want as many local people as possible to participate in the study," Huffman said. "Cancer and disease rates in the South are among the highest in the nation and this study is to find out why."
The study includes all races and ethnic backgrounds, men and women.
Huffman said diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are included in the study.
Volunteers are asked about 200 survey questions involving personal statistics such has height and weight, exercise and eating habits, as well as family medical history.
They will also donate a blood or saliva sample to complete the survey.
For their participation, volunteers will be given $10.
Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College and the International Epidemiology Institute (IEI), all in Nashville, are conducting the SCCS.
In addition to Louisiana, other states in the study are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
According to information on the IEI Web site (www.iei.ws), an important function of the study is the examination of high cancer and disease rates among African-Americans.
"This study will help identify the reasons for different cancer and disease rates between geographic, racial and ethnic groups," Huffman said.
The SCCS survey of volunteers began in 2001 and ends in March of 2009, which Huffman said is why there is a push to recruit as many participants as possible. The SCCS seeks to study 100,000 residents of the South, and so far about 70,000 have taken the survey.
"The study has been going on for seven years, and surveying ends in March 2009. It's important that our region be well-represented in the research," she said.
The volunteer's personal information will be kept confidential by the study and will not be shared with the government, medical facilities or insurance companies.
"Privacy is absolutely the number one concern," said Huffman. "The individual surveys are given numbers, not names, and so are the physical samples. In fact, the information is sent to different departments to keep them separate."
After the survey
Participants will not receive any results from the survey – all information will be evaluated as part of the whole project.
The term "cohort" in the study means the volunteer will receive follow-up contact to see how they are doing.
Research and compilation of data from SCCS will continue well into the future, with the ultimate goal to find out how to prevent cancer and serious disease.
According to the SCCS Website (www.southerncommunitystudy.org), "A cohort study is a research study whereby a group of persons, the "cohort," is enrolled and then followed over time for the subsequent occurrence of cancer or other diseases."
Participants will regularly receive a newsletter, updating them on the progress and findings of the survey.
Huffman said volunteers can come to the Medical Center office, 307 Chisum St., in Sicily Island, or if a group such as a church or club would like to participate, she will be happy to come to them.
"All I need is a room with a door that can close for privacy and an outlet for my laptop," Huffman said.
Participants must be between the ages of 40 and 79, speak English and have not been treated for cancer in the past year.
Huffman can be reached at 318-398-5727.