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The American Cancer Society is asking Utahns to join a study the organization hopes will lead eventually to the end of the deadly disease.

Called Cancer Prevention Study III, it aims to enroll at least 300,000 people nationally, and 2,500 in Utah.

Lex Olsen, with the society's Utah chapter, is in charge of Utah's portion. His father died of thyroid cancer in 1970, so Olsen is enrolling.

"It took him piece by piece, and it broke my heart," he said. "I want to make sure my kids and my friends don't have to go through the same thing he did. … People would want to be able to say, 'I was part of that study that they found a way to eliminate cancer.' "

To enroll, participants must be between ages 30 and 65 and can't have had cancer, except for basal or squamous cell skin cancer.

During enrollment, participants will be asked to complete surveys, provide a blood sample — to measure hormones, nutrients, vitamins, chemicals, metals and genetic factors — and a waist circumference measurement. That's because waist size is related to conditions such as diabetes and insulin resistance, which are related to the development of cancer, according to the study site.

The process could take up to an hour.

During the next two to three decades, more surveys will explore environmental and lifestyle factors linked to health.

The society's cancer-prevention studies started in the 1950s and have shown links between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, the impact of obesity on increasing cancer risk and air pollution on health, according to the study website.

The newest study is needed to understand new environmental exposures and lifestyle changes.

In Utah, enrollment is Nov. 13-17 at various locations, including hospitals and the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. For all locations, go to

To enroll, click on one of the sites to set up an appointment.

Over time, the study will compare participants who developed cancer to those who didn't. Enrollees may be asked to share their medical records. They will also be asked for their Social Security numbers, so the study can link participants with cancer registries and death certificates.

While the study is being run by the American Cancer Society, it is being reviewed by Emory University, which is ensuring it is run ethically. To maintain confidentiality, blood samples and questionnaires will be kept separately from personal identifiers.

Enrollees will not be given results of tests that may be done on their blood because it isn't intended to be a diagnostic test. —

Cancer Prevention Study III

In Utah, enrollment is Nov. 13-17.

Participation sites are at various locations, including hospitals and the LDS Conference Center. For all locations, go to

To enroll, click on one of the sites to set up an appointment.