Jacksonville chosen for breast cancer study

American Cancer Society to follow thousands of local people for 30 years

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:08:47 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 14 2013 04:29:08 PM EDT

As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, the American Cancer Society has chosen Jacksonville to take part in an historic new research study on the development of cancer.

The Cancer Prevention Study 3 is considered groundbreaking and will follow local participants over the next 30 years to try and find out what causes cancer to develop. Participants will give a one-time blood sample, then fill out yearly surveys online or through the mail.

Previous cancer prevention studies have linked smoking and lung cancer. But this new research is looking at new and emerging risk factors.

Sue Stepp with the American Cancer Society said researchers will look at more than just health data.

"They are going to be looking at environmental, genetics and also lifestyle which includes nutrition and exercise," said Stepp.

The success of the study depends on the people in the community willing to be involved. The American Cancer Society is looking for local men and women between 30 and 65 year old with no personal history of cancer. They need 300 thousand people nationwide.

Stepp said it is important the group is from all parts of the community.

"We really need a diverse population to come out. It is literally the greatest gift you can give someone you love that’s had cancer," Stepp said.

Sue Stepp has dealt with cancer for her entire life.  Her mother battled breast cancer while she was pregnant. She died when Stepp was just four years old.  When Stepp's own daughter was 3, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called an ocular melanoma in her right eye.

She said while she is feeling good, it's still too early to say she has beaten the disease.

"I’m in remission, but every six months for an entire lifetime I go down to a specialist in Miami," said Stepp. "So although I’m now in remission I say that gingerly. I say I’m a survivor gingerly, too."

Where to sign up for the study:

To sign up ahead of time online for appointments, click here.