Local organizers of a nationwide study looking to determine ways of causing and preventing cancer have met their enrollment goal, but said there's still room for more people to participate.
The Cancer Prevention Study-3, which is being organized by the American Cancer Society, is a long-term study that seeks to learn what causes cancer and how to prevent it. Across the nation, 300,000 people will be followed over the next 20 to 30 years.
Initially, the goal was to have 250 people from the Fort Dodge area sign up for CPS-3. According to Liddy Hora, a hospital representative for the American Cancer Society, there are now 295 people signed up locally to take part in the survey.
Even though the one-on-one meetings with participants are beginning this week, Hora said it's not too late for people to become a part of the study.
"We know that certain people who have made appointments won't show up," Hora said. "Anyone who would like to walk in, we will take care of them."
She added that she believes more than 300 locals will eventually participate, and she said that amount could increase to more than 350.
"If there's anyone willing to make that long-term commitment, we really hope they will come," she said, adding that if people would rather schedule an appointment instead of walking in, they are welcome to do that by going to cps3fd.org.
"We will not close that site down until the last enrollment," she said. "Everybody is very welcome to do that."
The CPS-3 study officially begins Thursday, according to Hora. That day, interviews will be held at the Fort Dodge REC Coliseum, 612 Second Ave S.
Participants need to be between the ages of 30 and 65 and have not had a cancer diagnosis with the exceptions of basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
"It'll take them about 25 to30 minutes," Hora said. "We'll give them the survey materials later on."
Other sessions will be held Friday from 7 to 11 a.m. at Trinity Regional Medical Center and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Webster County Health Department.
Hora said she believes the efforts of the Fort Dodge community show the commitment to fighting cancer.
"The CPS-3 has really presented itself to the community of Fort Dodge as a way to fight back," she said. "It's been something that has created a call to action in our community. It's very reflective of how we know we can make a difference in a cause that's bigger than us."
"It's reflective of the community and how we are tired of cancer," she added. "We know we can save lives by being involved."