The questionnaires come once every few years - a packet of papers usually taking a half-hour, maybe 40 minutes to complete.

The time commitment is small, but those packets could shape cancer treatment for decades to come.

Beginning Tuesday, the American Cancer Society expects to once again open enrollment for its Cancer Prevention Study-3 - an initiative that tries to pinpoint the causes of cancer by examining the lifestyles and environmental factors affecting thousands of people across the nation.

The study, which first began enrolling Coloradans in 2007, targets men and women ages 30 through 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and tracks them for decades.

Enrollment centers close at noon Friday - the last chance for people in the Pikes Peak region to sign up before researchers stop taking people at the end of the year.

"This is the last chance to get in and participate..." said Shane Ferraro, an American Cancer Society spokesman. "We hope that that sense of urgency encourages those who have considered it in the past or who thought about it but couldn't make an appointment."

Previous studies helped prove that smoking led to lung cancer, while also linking large waist sizes to the increased rate of cancer-related deaths, the association said.

The last study began in 1982 and is ongoing. More than 270,000 people across the nation have already signed up for the newest study, Ferraro said.

Signing up takes about 20 minutes and requires participants to fill out a survey, to measure their waist and to give a blood sample.

"I think that they're going to find some pretty important things..." Ferraro said.


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