The American Cancer Society is launching a borough-wide cancer prevention study aimed at identifying the lifestyle factors that cause the disease.
The group hosted a recruitment drive at Queens College last Friday, urging students and community leaders to promote cancer research by participating in the study, Cancer Prevention Study-3.
Surveys will be available for completion at enrollment sites across the borough beginning May 21. The group is hoping to collect information from at least 500 residents who are between the ages of 30 and 65 and who have never been diagnosed with cancer.
“Queens is one of the most diverse regions in the country and we’re hoping to get as much participation as possible from a diverse population,” said ACS Queens Regional Vice President Cathleen Garry. “I hope that we are able to find out why some people get cancer and why some people don’t.”
The American Cancer Society teamed up with New York Hospital Queens, the North Shore-LIJ Health System and St. John’s University to host CPS-3 in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the world, in an effort to focus on the cultural, ethnic and lifestyle factors that are related to cancer diagnosis.
According to the group, there are 196 cases of cancer diagnosed each week in Queens, 64 of which end in death. The organization also reports that Queens has one of the highest rates of cancer diversity — the appearance of different forms of the disease — in the country.
“Letting people know that this is going on and that we can’t do any research if people aren’t enrolled at sites is what is important now,” Garry said. “We’re hoping we’ll be able to narrow down where cancer is coming from in Queens.”
The state Department of Health and the state Cancer Registry conducted a study on cancer incidence and mortality in Queens from 2005 to 2009 that reported over 3,000 deaths annually. The report also showed that malignant tumors found in the lungs, colon and breasts were the most common forms of cancer and that women encountered a higher risk of dying from the disease: 1,688 deaths per year compared to 1,615 among men.
Myra Barginear, an oncologist at North Shore-LIJ’s Monter Cancer Center, said she helped organize the study because she believes it is an excellent way to receive information on the root causes of cancer in the area.
“This is an opportunity to find associations between social behaviors and environmental exposures and how we can implement recommendations to prevent cancer,” Barginear said. “Our hospitals diagnose about 16,000 new cases of cancer every year and about a third of those are in Queens —that’s another reason why the Queens community should support this study because it has an enormous impact.”
CPS-3 is the third cancer prevention study organized by the American Cancer Society. The last two studies were focused on the lifestyle choices that lead to lung cancer and obesity.
For more information on CPS-3, visit cps3ny.org/queens.html.