St. Louis’ Top Employers Partner with American Cancer Society on National Cancer Prevention Study

Company Champions at the CPS-3 press conference on February 19, 2013.

Company Champions at the CPS-3 press conference on February 19, 2013.

Residents in the St. Louis area have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of 300,000 people across the United States and Puerto Rico. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 is being made possible in partnership with some of St. Louis’ top employers. UMB Bank, Edward Jones, Centene Corporation, Maritz Holding, Inc., KPMG, Monsanto, and Siteman Cancer Center will be hosting CPS-3 enrollment sites from April 23 – May 2, 2013. Eligibility and enrollment details can be found at cancerstudymo.org.

CPS-3 will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer. “Currently, there are no other studies of this magnitude in the US that enable researchers to look at various racial and ethnic populations and cancer risk,” stated Mike Dany, Executive Vice President for the American Cancer Society. “We commend our corporate and health care partners for taking the lead to offer their sites for participants to enroll in this critically important study.”

Enrollment in the study involves two steps. After scheduling an appointment, individuals will be asked to complete a comprehensive survey online that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral, and other factors related to their health. Step two involves an in-person enrollment process which takes approximately 20-30 minutes and includes measuring waist circumference and collecting a small blood sample from participants. Upon completion of this process, the Society will send periodic follow-up surveys every few years to individuals to update their information and annual newsletters with study updates and results.

Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s that collectively have involved millions of volunteer participants. The Hammond-Horn Study and previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) have played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risk, and have contributed significantly to the scientific basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations. Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions. The current study, CPS-II, began in 1982 and is still ongoing. But changes in lifestyle and in the understanding of cancer in the more than two decades since its launch make it important to begin this new study. The voluntary, long-term commitment by CPS-3 participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come.

Go to cancerstudymo.org to enroll or call 888-604-5888. For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit cancer.org/cps3, email cps3@cancer.org, or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

Dr. Jeff Michalski from Siteman Cancer Center speaking at the CPS-3 press conference.

Dr. Jeff Michalski from Siteman Cancer Center speaking at the CPS-3 press conference.

UMB Bank Chairman & CEO Tom Chulick speaks at the CPS-3 press conference.

UMB Bank Chairman & CEO Tom Chulick speaks at the CPS-3 press conference.

Why do I Relay for Life?

Published in The Moberly Monitor-Index — May 17, 2012 — Submitted by Molly Nuhn

It should not have taken our family such a long time to become involved in the Relay for Life and the fight against cancer.  My dad’s only brother had died at 33 from cancer and my mom lost her only remaining parent (her mom) when she was only 53 to pancreatic cancer.  It had made its’ mark on our family.  We had seen friends and family fight and win and we had seen friends and family fight and succumb.  But cancer really came charging into our lives in June of 1998.
Steve and I had been married two short years and lived in Kansas City with our one-year-old baby, Spencer.  Spencer was a perfect baby with a round face and chubby little hands, big brown eyes and an easy smile.  He was happy and energetic and very easy to deal with.  So when he became fussy over a weekend visiting my family in Moberly, we knew there was something going on.  Suspecting an ear infection we took him to Columbia to see Dr. Harris.  He had been my pediatrician and was willing to take a look at Spencer.  At that appointment Dr. Harris did a very thorough abdominal exam and found something suspicious in Spencer’s stomach.  He told us to have him checked out again as soon as we got back to Kansas City.  He said it could be something very minor but stressed that we have him looked at immediately.
     We took Spencer to Children’s Mercy Hospital and after a battery of x-rays and ultrasounds we were admitted to the hospital.  We were put in the pediatric oncology ward.  Nothing I write could ever convey what we were thinking or feeling.  We had a healthy, happy child and yet, here we were listening to conversations that included words like tumor, neuroblastoma, Wilmes, chemotherapy, survival rates, mortality rates.  Whoa…! It was a week before his first birthday.
     We had an Elmo birthday party planned. But we were in the hospital with our son who had not even turned one year old and we were engaged in the fight of our lives.  After two days of testing and waiting we were given a diagnosis.  Spencer had a stage 4 neuroblastoma, a tumor the size of a grapefruit  (at the time he weighed 14 lbs), and a 20% survival rate.  Our oncologist told us that in the last five years research had changed the way neuroblastoma was treated.  We would operate and remove as much of the tumor as possible and then make some decisions based on what the surgeons found.  CMH sent us home to “enjoy” the weekend. We would return Monday morning for surgery and ultimately an outcome and treatment plan.  I would tell you about that weekend but I don’t remember one minute of it.
     On Monday morning we returned to CMH and turned our little boy over to nurses and surgeons.  Spencer was in surgery about 6 hours and he has an 18-inch scar to prove it! I got a phone call in the waiting room from the surgeon about 4 that afternoon.  He said, “ we took it all out, we got the whole tumor. “ The doctor had removed the tumor, some blood vessels from the kidney, some lymph nodes and an adrenal gland.  Everything was sent to pathology for testing and we waited again.
     After four days of healing we were sent home from the hospital with a cancer-free child.  No chemotherapy, no radiation and no more surgeries.  We had monthly and then quarterly and then yearly blood tests and exams with the oncologist and countless CT scans, X-rays and MRIs.  Other than some anxiety over waiting for test results, cancer had come storming in and then quietly walked out of our existence.  But really our lives were forever changed.
     My dad had seen an article about the Relay for Life while we were waiting for some test results.  He said, “Next year Spencer and I are going to walk in the Relay For Life”.  At that time, we didn’t even know if Spence would be alive one more summer.  We didn’t know anything about the Relay For Life or if Randolph County even had one.  Oh boy! does Randolph County have one.  They had Relayed for years with hundreds of dedicated volunteers.
     The Relay For Life is a phenomenon.  It has existed for over twenty years and has contributed more than 3 billion dollars to the American Cancer Society.  A large portion of those contributions goes to research.  Research saved my son’s life and it is saving other children, parents, grandparents and friends.  Until we reach a day where no one is lost to a disease that cruelly takes so many we continue to Relay in Randolph County.
     We know that we are making a difference in the fight against cancer.  Our volunteers work tirelessly to raise thousands of dollars every year.  Our volunteers lose people they love, our Relay loses volunteers and our community loses very special people.  That is why we continue to Relay and that is something to be proud of. It is the reason Spencer has walked in 13 survivor laps. Every cancer story should have a happy ending.  Join your community in the fight June 1 and 2 at Spartan Stadium for a life-changing experience.

A Survivor’s Story

A cancer survivor shared their story as a great reminder of why we Relay.

I was diagnosed with cancer on Friday, April 20, 2012.  I never thought it would happen to me – I know plenty of people who have had this nasty disease, but it was always others, never me or my family; until “that day”.  “That Day” started off with a routine doctor’s visit that led to 4 sets of tests (blood, x-ray, MRI and CT scan) and three doctors.  Final verdict: cancer.

My first thoughts were “not me”, “second opinion” and “how am I going to tell my kids?”  I drove home in a daze and turned on my computer and Googled “cancer”.  Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t search my type of cancer (bone) but for some reason I just typed cancer and searched, maybe it was fate.  The first thing that came up was The American Cancer Society webpage.  I clicked the link and spent over an hour just looking through all the information and resources.  There was so much I became overwhelmed and decided to just call the phone number they gave.  The first thing you should know about me is that I hate talking on the phone – ask my kids and they will tell you that I will do anything and everything I can to not have to speak to people on the phone.  But I realized that this was bigger than me and I needed help sifting through the information I was given by doctors and reading online.  So I called and I believe that call is what is going to save my life.  Let me explain…

When I called I spoke with the sweetest lady who listened.  I didn’t realize I had so much to say in just a few short hours of learning this information but I did!  Then she asked me a few questions – simple ones I could actually answer!  Then she gave me information – explained a few terms the doctor had said that I didn’t know what they were.  She told me about the different treatment options the doctors had mentioned and what they meant.  Then she told me that while she finished gathering more information that she would email me, she wanted me to know that there was a Relay For Life event being held at the Haralson County High School later today.  I told her I had seen a sign around town for it but didn’t really know what it was or think I had a connection (karma???!!?).  She said I might want to go over to it and gave me some details on it.  I hung up feeling a lot better knowing some more information on this terrible thing in my body but still feeling doubtful – how am I going to fight this?  What will my family think?  I don’t want to be known in our small community as “the lady with cancer”.  I decided to go to the grocery store and while driving I passed three signs about Relay For Life.  I got the not-so-subtle hint from God that I was supposed to go.  This is the part where that call changed my life.

I pulled up to the high school and could not believe how many cars were there – I guess this thing that was going on was a big deal! I parked and was taken by golf cart down to the track and ushered directly under a huge tent.  There they gave me a shirt that said “I Am Hope”.  Those words still send tingles down my side.  After a dinner of subs, salads, fruit and veggies we had a balloon release and there were several people who had been survivors for over 25 years.  As I walked that first lap with everyone cheering me on, I realized why I was hope…. In 25 years I will be letting go of my balloon for the person who gets diagnosed and comes to their first Relay For Life.  I spent time walking around the track, talking with people and eating things that my doctors will probably tell me soon I shouldn’t be eating.  I kept hearing talk about a candle lighting ceremony that was going to happen soon so I waited around and enjoyed all the great skits, singers and bands that were playing.  The luminaria ceremony was my breaking point.  While sitting in the bleachers surrounded by a thousand people that I don’t know, who don’t know me or my whirlwind 12 hours, I never felt as loved or supported as I did then, thanks to the American Cancer Society and my local community.  I knew then, in that moment of silence, that I will win this fight against this thing called cancer because of all of the people fighting for me here at this event.

Next week is my first chemotherapy treatment and I have already picked out what I will wear – my I Am Hope Relay survivor shirt to let everyone there know that I will beat this and I will be their hope.  Thank you to the American Cancer Society and the amazing people of my community for putting on such an amazing event.  You’ll never know how much that night meant to me.

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