Cancer prevention study: '1,600 people will die today'

      EUGENE, Ore. - A day at the gym is a day at work for Steve Auferoth.

      He's the health and fitness director for the City of Eugene.

      He's also one of thousands locally who have signed up for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study 3.

      "1,600 people will die today," he said. "1,600 people died yesterday, and 1,600 people are going to die tomorrow."

      That statistic is scary, and it's one of the reasons people are signing up to be part of the study.

      In order to stop cancer in its tracks, the more we know, the better. That's why 300,000 volunteers are needed for a nationwide study into what causes cancer and what kinds of things can help prevent it.

      They're filling out questionnaires, giving a blood sample and having their waist measured.

      That's just the start.

      Every year for the next 25 to 30 years, participants agree to fill out a new survey to see if what they're doing and how they're living puts them at risk for cancer, or protects them.

      Pat Cookson with the American Cancer Society says it won't be a big inconvenience for people. "We're not asking people to change how they're living, we just want to follow how people are actually living and see what that correlation means between that and cancer," Auferoth said.

      "Family history is a big factor, but I think how we eat, how we exercise is going to be a huge factor," said Auferoth.

      Only time will tell. "If we can have less people die of cancer every year, then this study will be successful," Auferoth said.

      This is the third time a study of this magnitude has been done.

      The first one, conducted back in the 1950s, showed a direct connection between smoking and cancer.

      The second, which began in the 1980s, showed the link between obesity and the disease.

      More volunteers are needed for the study, you only need to be between 30 and 65 years old and have never had any type of cancer.