Red Deerians encouraged to join cancer study

The Tomorrow Project visits Red Deer this week, giving local residents an opportunity to join the long-term research study into the causes of cancer.

The Tomorrow Project is a research initiative of Alberta Health Services, Cancer Care. By 2013, researchers want to enrol 50,000 Albertans, ages 35 to 69, who have never had cancer.

“Much of the important knowledge to be gained from this project about what causes cancer will benefit our children and grandchildren,” said Dr. Paula Robson, principal investigator for the Tomorrow Project.

“We are getting better at early detection of cancer and better at treatment, such that people are living longer after receiving a cancer diagnosis. However, one area we need to get better at is learning how to prevent cancer in the first place.”

People interested in joining the study are invited to a temporary study centre at the Harvest Centre at Westerner Park on March 14 to 18. They will be asked questions about their health and lifestyle, have some physical measurements taken and give small amounts of urine and blood or saliva. Appointments are necessary and will take about one hour.

“This study aims to lower the rate of cancer diagnosis in the future,” said Cal Dallas, minister of Intergovernmental, International and Aboriginal Relations, and MLA for Red Deer South. “I encourage the residents of Red Deer to participate in this study.”

This is one of four community study centres planned for the communities outside of Calgary and Edmonton in March, and the Tomorrow Project’s second visit to Red Deer in two years.

“This research study is devoted to bettering the health of Albertans,” said Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “Participating in the Tomorrow Project today could mean a cancer-free world for future generations.”

Figures show almost half of all Albertans will develop cancer in their lifetime and one in four will die from the disease. In the Central Zone of AHS, which includes Red Deer, 1,965 people developed cancer in 2009 (the latest available statistics) and 846 died from the disease.

“The Tomorrow Project could give us the data needed to ensure fewer lives, here in Alberta and around the world, are affected by this devastating disease,” said Mary Anne Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer North.

For information and to join the study, visit www.in4tomorrow.ca or call toll-free 1-877-919-9292. There is also a mail-in option for individuals who are interested in joining the Tomorrow Project but live too far away from a study centre. Spaces are limited at the Red Deer temporary study centre and will be booked on a first-in, first-served basis. Those wishing to participate are encouraged to book appointments in advance.

Any residents interested in volunteering with the project are encouraged to join as an ambassador to help find study members. Call 1-877-919-9292 for details.

Partners for the Tomorrow Project include AHS, Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, Alberta Cancer Foundation and, at the national level, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The Project is part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, which is made up of five regional health studies across Canada.

– Fawcett

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