Today’s topic: Ways to save the world
My dad is some kind of secret shopper for the post office. I’ve never really understood it, but he gets postcards from the usps and makes some kind of telephone report on the day they arrive. It’s all very mysterious, but to me it’s clear that he’s just trying to pitch in, to help make things work just a bit better.
Something I’ve tried to do lately is find these small ways that I can contribute. It’s not easy. I recycle, drive a small car, patronize the library, give blood, try to give handmade (knitted!) instead of store-bought gifts when I can . . . but ways to give back are not always easy to find.
So I got excited when I saw a recent article in Newsweek about a long-term study by the American Cancer Society looking for participants. The study is called Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) and aims to follow 500,000 people who’ve never had cancer for at least 20 years “to figure out who gets cancer, who doesn’t, and why.”
You don’t have to have an exotic disease to participate, you don’t have to take an experimental drug and you don’t have to spend nights awake, looking at the ceiling, wondering if you’re one of the ones getting a placebo. All you have to do is give a little blood, submit to some measurements, and answer a questionnaire once in a while.
I don’t think I’m alone in fearing cancer — it’s touched my family (although thankfully not too severely). A close friend of The Baron’s, in her mid-thirties, was just diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s everywhere, and there’s nothing as frightening as the suffocating, inert helplessness that settles over the waiting — for a diagnosis, for a prognosis, for treatment options and for the all-important call detailing the results of treatment.
Joining the CPS-3 might mean a little extra paperwork every once in a while. It means submitting private medical information to a big corporate organization. But it also means being able to do something, being able to take some kind of action, to participate directly in research into cancer prevention and treatment.
CPS-3 has been signing up participants since 2006 at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a fundraising and awareness campaign taking place across the country. If you’re between 30 and 65 and have never had cancer (this does not include basal or squamous cell skin cancer), please consider visiting their website to find a Relay for Life CPS-3 enrollment event in your area.
According to the website, enrollment simply involves completing a survey and signing an informed consent, providing a waist measurement and providing a small blood sample. Future participation in the study simply involves completing periodic follow-up questionnaires. If you’re concerned about the type of information you’ll need to disclose, you can even visit the CPS website and view past questionnaires.
The Baron and I will be enrolling when Relay for Life comes to our neighborhood this summer. Consider joining — it’s a little thing you can do, but it might really mean a lot.