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Finding a cure for cancer

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By Calen McKinney

 

We all have a story. Now we can all be part of changing that story.

Taylor Regional Hospital is doing something very exciting. They are participating in an American Cancer Society study to help pinpoint what causes cancer.

Can you imagine a world without cancer? I hope I live to see that day.

I still remember how I felt when I heard my grandfather, and then later my grandmother, had cancer. I had a feeling that their lifespan would be cut short by the terrible disease.

My grandmother’s was, and my grandfather has suffered long-term effects of his radiation treatments.

And a co-worker being diagnosed with and now battling cancer is still very fresh and emotional to us at the CKNJ.

When I heard that there would be another ACS study to help find what causes cancer, I was very excited. A world without cancer seems pretty amazing to me. Being a part of making that come true is even more so.

Previous ACS studies identified the link between smoking and lung cancer. That is a commonly known fact now. That information didn’t exist, however, until people like us participated in an ACS study.

Participating in the study is easy. I went to www.trhosp.org and clicked on “Cancer Prevention Study.”

You may also see a link to “Taylor County Health Assessment.” I encourage you to complete this survey as well.

Taylor County Healthy Living Coalition’s community-wide health assessment survey will help local officials assess Taylor County residents’ perceptions of various health-related issues. Your answers to this survey could impact what happens in the community we call home. And it only takes a few minutes.

Now, back to the cancer study.

After clicking “Cancer Prevention Study,” a new webpage will open, and, after reading the page, participants should click on “Schedule Appointment.”

You are then asked to type some information about yourself and then select a time and date to go to TRH for an appointment with a phlebotomist to answer questions, have some blood drawn and your waist measured.

I will be at TRH on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 5:30 p.m.

To participate in the study, you must be age 30 to 65, though I have been told those age 29 and a half and have never been diagnosed with cancer can participate. Those who have had skin cancer can participate. You don’t have to be from Taylor County or even Kentucky to participate.

You must be willing to participate in the study for at least 20 years. I know that sounds like a big commitment, but you will only be asked to complete a short survey every couple of years.

After selecting an appointment, you will be given a link to a survey that should be completed before you go to TRH.

There are several sections to the survey that ask for in-depth information about medications, family medical history, physical activity and much more.

I’m sure this could be overwhelming. They ask for some pretty personal information.

I encourage you to look at what could result from you answering those questions, however, when considering participating.

Again, every few years, they will send participants a survey in the mail to complete and mail back. Sounds easy to me.

ACS is hoping that this project — the largest research study being conducted in the United States right now — will attract about 300,000 participants. They want at least 200 from the smaller towns participating, like Campbellsville.

At a meeting last week, organizers said more than 100 have already signed up.

How about being part of that last 100? Your participation could mean your children or grandchildren might not have to hear their loved ones say they have cancer.

What’s better than that?