American Cancer Society ACS 3

Albany Medical Center to survey 300,000 people in 20-year cancer study

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Record; The Saratogian

ALBANY — Albany Medical Center Hospital and the American Cancer Society announced their latest partnership during a press conference Tuesday. Over the course of the next 20 years, the two organizations will survey 300,000 individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 as part of a major Cancer Prevention Study.

“The purpose of the CPS-3 (Cancer Prevention Study) trial is to better understand the factors that may cause cancer, and to better prevent cancer in the future. These can include lifestyle, environment, and genetic factors,” said Dr. Rufus Collea, the chief medical officer for the Capital Region chapter of the ACS, and an oncologist at Albany Medical Center. The two previous CPS studies conducted by ACS established links between cancer and lifestyle choices, such as tobacco-use and obesity.

This study looks to build upon data gathered in those previous studies, and others, and to use it to pinpoint other lifestyle choices that may have an influence on the incidence, rate of growth, and likelihood of eventual fatality for various cancers.

In the effort to acquire a representative sample population of 300,000, ACS is attempting to enroll at least 75,000 minorities.

"I encourage faith-based organizations in Albany to promote CPS-3 and to help ensure that at least 25 percent of study participants are from a minority population,” said Brenda Traynham, a pastor at New Horizons Church in Albany’s South End, in a statement.

African Americans are disproportionately affected by cancer, and Traynham is urging their participation, as well as that of other minorities, so that researchers may learn what it is that is at the root of this disproportionate percentage. Both African American men and women suffer higher rates of incidence for most cancers than their white counterparts, as well as higher death rates.

“Participation will use very little of a person’s time, and be very easy,” said Collea. ACS is requesting that all prospective participants enroll online at www.cps3albany.org and obtain an appointment date and time there. The appointment will consist of signing a consent form, a waist measurement, blood taken, and a completing a health and lifestyle survey.

Local enrollment will take place during three upcoming events: The Hilton Garden Inn at Albany Medical on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Harriman State Campus on Oct. 19 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Washington Park on Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


“Unlike more than 5,000 other hospitals in the United States where patient care is done, we do not only patient care, but we do important biomedical research on cancer and its causes,” said James Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center. “It is research ultimately that will cure cancer.”

The data from CPS-I, which established the link between smoking and tobacco use and cancer, especially lung cancer, led to public campaigns against smoking, the decrease in smoking of cigarettes and use of other tobacco products, and the eventual passage of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors. According to Barba, those laws have led to 80 percent of the nation being protected against second hand smoking. In the past couple of years, the region has been swept by the most recent effect of those first trials: smoking bans at local colleges.

In Troy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute went tobacco-free in all indoor and outdoor facilities in July 2010, while the College of Saint Rose in Albany went tobacco-free in January.

Michele Mack, of Clifton Park, a breast cancer survivor of 13 years, underwent surgeries at Albany Medical, and was diagnosed in the Oncology Hematology Unit.

“(This study) is the single most important thing that an individual and that, as part a community, we can do,” Mack said. Shortly after her recovery she chose to give back by volunteering with ACS, and is now Senior Director of Income Development at ACS.

Officials at Albany Medical Center hope that this study will uncover other factors that will lead to not only knowledge about lifestyle factors contributing to cancer, but also how to cure the disease.

“Cancer will not cure itself,” said Barba. “Only people doing this kind of research, people like yourselves volunteering to help with the research — only those things will cure cancer.”