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June 6, 2013

CRMC to participate in nationwide cancer study

Pam Kress has had a lot of titles over the years.

Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother.

But one she never imagined having was cancer survivor. Now, almost a year after being diagnosed, the nurse supervisor at Cullman Regional Medical Center is able to add it to her list.

“Cancer was not on my map this time last year,” she said. “Chemo was difficult, and so was radiation, but I think the most difficult thing for me was telling my family. To look your family in the eye and say I have cancer, and then wonder how much longer will I be here? What’s ahead? You can’t answer those questions, and for me, that’s why I’m involved in this.”

Kress told her story to roughly a dozen people gathered at CRMC’s Colonel Cullman Room Wednesday morning as part of the American Cancer Society’s kick-off for their upcoming Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).

“I didn’t know if I would have another birthday,” Kress said. “And it’s because of people in the past that have already gone through studies like this that I can have another birthday. I may not can enroll in the study, but I can encourage others.”

On July 30, Cullman residents will have the opportunity to take their own stand in the fight against cancer and help to finish the fight. 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 CPS-3. CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of up to half a million people across the United States and Puerto Rico. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 is being made possible through a partnership with CRMC.

“We’re happy to be a part of this initiative,” CRMC President/CEO Jim Weidner said.  “It’s studies like this that will dramatically change how we fight cancer. I’m proud to say CRCM has made it a priority, and we’ll be asking all 1,000 employees to enroll and do their part to beat cancer and help advance our mission of supporting our community, saving lives, and providing the most advanced health care to our patients. “

 The American Cancer Society has been conducting large-scale, nationwide population studies to examine the causes of cancer, and how to prevent it for nearly 60 years. Previous studies have been able to link such things as smoking to cancer, and confirmed relationships between secondhand smoke with lung cancer and heart disease.

“What we all know now is that smoking causes lung cancer,” Weidner said. “But what people probably don’t know is that it took three years to research, 22,000 volunteers, and 188,000 people in a study to publish the correlation between smoking and lung cancer, and it was all spearheaded by the American Cancer Society.”

Those wishing to participate can make an appointment for the July 30 enrollment by going to www.cps3cullman.org. Upon arrival, those participating will complete a brief written survey, provide physical measurements, and give a small blood sample. Questionnaires will be mailed every few years to those enrolled to update lifestyle, environmental, and medical information.

“We already have a lot of champions, but we need to recruit some more,” Blake West said. “The more people involved, the more birthday’s we have.”

Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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