HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) - The American Cancer Society estimates more than half a million people will die this year from cancer. It's a disease that's so widespread, it's easy to find someone who's been affected.
About three years ago Jon Gibson lost his father-in-law to pancreatic cancer.
"If I could go back and do something 20 years ago that would've prevented that from happening, I definitely would," he explains. "He was young, healthy and you just never know."
Today, Gibson has that chance to help the next generation through a new cancer prevention study being conducted by the American Cancer Society. Researchers want to better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
Participants are being asked to fill out a survey as well as provide an initial blood sample and waist measurement. Study administrators want at least 25 percent of the participants to be minorities.
"Our opportunity, the individuals opportunity to truly change the face of cancer as we know it. To help us save lives to help us keep the next generation from hearing the words you have cancer," says Denise Richbourg with the American Cancer Society.
"Like smoking. People don't realize the studies are what helped link smoking and cancer and that's what we're trying to do with this CPS3 study is try to find links, causes, to help prevent cancer," adds Gibson.
"I hope people will think ahead that I can take time now to hopefully prevent something from happening in the future.
For the study they're looking for people who are from ages 30 to 65-years-old. Because the goal of the study is prevention they want people who have never had cancer.
"We follow participants for 20 to 30 years so truly it is a once in a generation opportunity," says Richbourg. "We want to look at these people and find out what they're doing, how they've been living and what can cause or prevent cancer."
If you'd like to be a part of the study you can enroll online or call 1-888-604-5888.