The search for answers to cancer needs your help - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

The search for answers to cancer needs your help

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A nationwide effort searching for the answers behind the causes of cancer needs your help.

This is the third in a series of decade's long studies by the American Cancer Society and holds an importance in eliminating cancer.

"I lost my wife Tricia to cancer two years ago.  After she passed away I wanted to make a difference and get involved," explains study participant Jeff Tollefson.

Jeff Tollefson decided to enroll in the American Cancer Society's third cancer prevention study.

"What we're looking at is trying to find the links, genetic, behavioral, lifestyle factors that might contribute to cancer," says Peg Banks of the American Cancer Society.

Part of a decade's long study tracking the commonalities like where you live, what you eat or which genes you inherited from your parents that could lead to cancer.

"Those things possibly could make a difference and in 20 years those people, like my wife, might not die from pancreatic cancer," says Tollefson.

"We need to know what those factors are, what are the contributing factors and have the data to back it up so that we can change the course of cancer for future generations," says Banks.

Once you enroll in the study you take an initial survey, submit a blood sample, take a waist measurement and then fill out a survey that's mailed to you.

"Over the course of time, 20 to 30 years, you would receive a survey for every two to three years," says Banks.

Then those long-term results will be studied for any links to cancer, something the previous studies have discovered.

"This is the third study the American Cancer Society has conducted.  The first study actually linked smoking to cancer," says Banks.

Which is why it's important to enroll as big and as broad of a study group as possible.

"Hopefully I can motivate people to get involved in a program that could potentially save people's lives," says Tollefson.

Nationwide the study is 60,000 people short of its 300,000 participant goal, something Northern Wisconsin could help eclipse.

"If we can just network this within the community of Eau Claire or the surrounding area, maybe we can reach that 300,000 number that we're looking for to complete this study," says Tollefson.

A study searching for the answer to cancer.

The requirements to join the study limit participants to someone between the ages of 30 and 65 without a cancer history, except certain types of skin cancer.

The sign up goal for Northern Wisconsin 700 people, so far more than 250 have already committed to the study.

There will be information meetings in Rice Lake on August, 29th from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Marshfield Clinic and September 3rd from noon until 1 p.m. at the Marshfield Clinic on Craig Road.

Would you contribute 30 years to help with this study, let me know on Twitter @crusan_michael

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