11 August 2016
Like many of us, Rachel and her family have been touched by cancer.
“Both my sister and brother were diagnosed and passed away from the disease, leaving children and other family behind,” she said.
“It has turned my life upside down. My kids have lost loving family members and my mother worries about all of us.”
The mother of three wanted to do something so that others don’t have to go through the trauma of losing a loved one to cancer.
“I thought, what if it didn’t have to be like this? What if we could do something to better understand cancer?”
Rachel and her mother have taken part in Cancer Council’s Australian Breakthrough Cancer Study to help us find out more about the causes of cancer and other diseases.
With nearly 130,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer each year, it’s never been more important for us to find out more information so that we can improve its prevention, detection and treatment.
The ABC Study will help researchers understand more about cancer by studying the lifestyles of 50,000 Australians who have not been diagnosed with cancer, and then comparing those who go on to develop cancer with those who don’t.
Professor Graham Giles is leading the ABC Study and hopes that collecting the data will lead to the prevention of cancers and improved treatments.
“By collecting information about participants’ lifestyles, we’ll be able to use the latest genetic technologies to investigate the role that our genes, lifestyle and environment play in the development of disease,” he said.
“By more accurately predicting cancer risk based on an individual's genetic profile and lifestyle, we will be able to deliver more customised health advice and better targeted public health messages.
“Studies like this are not only important for the prevention and treatment of cancer, but also for other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.”
The ABC Study needs people aged 40 to 74 years who haven’t had cancer to complete online questionnaires and provide a saliva sample, and possibly a blood sample.
Answers to the questionnaires will then be pooled together so that researchers can look for trends and compare the data for those participants who are later diagnosed with cancer or other diseases to those who aren’t.
Researchers will analyse the DNA from the saliva and blood samples and the frequency of cancers in families. This information, they hope, will enable them to accurately predict cancer risk based on an individual’s genetic profile and lifestyle so that people may be given more personalised health advice tailored to their own data.
“The ABC Study is an easy way to make a difference,” Rachel said. “The more Australians who take part, the closer we get to knowing more about this devastating disease.”
Simply visit www.abcstudy.com.au to get started.