American Cancer Society Hero of Hope Greg Pierce is a triple diagnosis cancer survivor who credits research conducted by the ACS for his survival
Hope. Strength. Courage. Those three words seem foreign to some when faced with insurmountable odds. But if one were to ask a cancer survivor what those three words mean, he or she would likely share those words helped get them through their darkest hours.
Those three words build a foundation for the American Cancer Society. Without the American Cancer Society, many of those survivors might not celebrate a birthday.
It is through extensive research that the American Cancer Society uses to build its arsenal in the fight against cancer.
Sometimes, that research comes from those medically untouched by cancer.
During the last several decades, the American Cancer Society has issued an all-call for participants of research studies. These studies monitor those without cancer through a survey every three to five years. The surveys are designed to gather information about a participant, including medical history as well as genetic history and environmental factors.
The ACS is beginning the stages of its third long-term study.
The organization has reached out to members of Weakley County asking for their help with Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).
Research has shown one out of every two men and one out of every three women will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
During a champion luncheon held last week in Martin, ACS CPS-3 volunteer lead Linda Ramsey of Martin shared her story and encouraged “champions” to help recruit volunteers for the 20-30-year study.
“This is really unique. This study recognizes the power of one and we will become a powerful force by joining these efforts. But people must be in it for the long haul,” Ramsey shared.
Through the course of the previous studies, legislation has been adopted once research had shown secondhand smoke contributed to cancer.
“Statistics will show people who participate in the study will get cancer,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said she wasn’t aware that breast cancer was more common in African-American under the age of 45 than in Caucasian women. That information was compiled as a result of an ACS study.
Ramsey is a breast cancer survivor.
Greg Pierce of Paris is a Hodgkin’s cancer survivor. He also shared his story with champions on hand during last week’s luncheon. Pierce said he was diagnosed in 1988 with Hodgkin’s. Pierce is an ACS Hero of Hope.
“I was lucky it was not diagnosed in 1978, when the death rate was 90 percent. By 1988, the death rate was 10 percent for that type of cancer,” Pierce said.
After 18 years free of cancer, Pierce said he noticed a familiar sore spot behind his ear. A diagnosis showed a more aggressive form of head and neck cancer.
After surgery and treatments four years ago, Pierce is a testament to research conducted by the ACS.
“I had a triple cancer diagnosis. I have been radiated 60-plus times on my throat. Without this research, I would not be standing here today,” Pierce said.
Pierce’s father had prostate cancer and his mother was diagnosed with an inoperable lung tumor.
“Hopefully with this study, we can help our children and grandchildren with research being done today.”
The study is open to anyone in the United States and Puerto Rico between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer.
Participants are asked to complete an on-line sign up survey before enrollment, which is set for May.
At enrollment, participants will be asked to provide a waist circumference measurement, a small blood sample (similar to a blood sample at a doctor’s office) and complete a brief, written survey.
The blood sample is given one time and will be frozen. The sample will check for environmental, behavioral and genetic factors throughout the study.
All personal information given during the study is safeguarded by members of the American cancer Society. The goal for participation across the U.S. and Puerto Rico is 300,000, with a local goal of 200 participants.
Enrollment will take place May 2 from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and May 3 from 1-6:30 p.m. at MTD Products, located at 136 Industrial Park Drive in Martin. Another enrollment will take place May 15 from 3-6:30 p.m. and May 16 from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the C.E. Weldon Public Library which is located at 100 Main St. in Martin. Local enrollment is being made possible in partnership with MTD Products.
Visit www.cps3martin.org to sign up for enrollment and take one of the first steps in joining the movement for less cancer and more birthdays.