In the mid-1960s when my mother quit smoking, it was common knowledge that smoking cigarettes wasn’t what anyone would still consider a healthy lifestyle choice. In fact, she and the rest of the world knew the bad habit could cause lung cancer.
Where did this knowledge originate? If asked, most of us would probably admit we don’t really know, but that it must have been some branch of government.
It was the American Cancer Society. How did they know?
It wasn’t guesswork, but a three-year study started in 1952 in which 188,000 volunteers helped identify the link between sucking in cigarette smoke and lung cancer. A second study of one million volunteers in 1964 drew the connection between early deaths and smoking. Together, this research led to the Surgeon General adorning every package of cigarettes with his famous warning label.
Yet another study in 1996 with 1.2 million participants identified the risk of death due to secondhand smoke.
As it turns out, the Ada area has been chosen to help study how lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors cause or prevent cancer. Want to help make history? Join the study!
There are only three criteria for determining if you are eligible. You must be between the ages of 30-36. You must be willing to make a 20-year commitment to participate, and you must never have been diagnosed with cancer.
After meeting those requirements, you will have your waist measured and a sample of your blood taken. In the years following, your only commitment is filling out an occasional survey asking about new medical conditions and updating other factors regarding your lifestyle.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is very important for volunteers to understand the critical nature of committing to the full 20-year period.
Most of us would like to something, anything, to help in the fight to find a cure for cancer. The problem is we’re not medical researchers. We can give money, and should. Ada nearly always leads the state and most of the nation in per capita giving to this worthy cause. In fact, it was this generosity that drew the attention of the American Cancer Society folks and led them to pick our residents to join in the study. They figure if we’re motivated to give that kind of money we must really be motivated to help find a cure and therefore be willing to do something a little extra – like helping with their research.
In a real sense, those participating in the previous studies have made history. Now it’s our turn.
The day and time to volunteer is just before Ada’s annual Relay for Life event. This year’s celebration is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 31 to 1 a.m. Saturday, June 1. Sign up for the study is scheduled for 6 p.m., which is one hour before the regular Relay for Life festivities begin. Watch The Ada News for more details.
Lone' Beasley is publisher of The Ada News