For the first time, the State of Oklahoma will take part in a national cancer study.

Enrollment is open for those interested in the Cancer Prevention Study-3, which will span 20 to 30 years. The purpose of the study is to determine what causes cancer and what prevents it.

The first study took place in the 1950s by two men trying to prove there was not a link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Instead, the opposite was found to be true. A number of follow-up studies have focused on other factors that contribute to cancer to pave the way for research by the American Cancer Society.

Lesa Foster, regional vice president of field operations in Oklahoma, visited with a number of corporate leaders Wednesday afternoon to discuss the study and the impact it will have on the nation and Oklahomans. Foster said the goal for Oklahoma is to have 2,000 volunteers. The state appears to be well on its way to exceeding that goal, with 1,700 having already signed up.

The American Cancer Society has set a goal of 150 in Ardmore, and early returns indicated a new goal may need to be set, as 95 have already signed up.

"We anticipate meeting that goal, and will add to the goal and add personnel for the appointment site," Foster said. "We are only looking for people that have never been diagnosed with cancer."

The enrollment process is taking place online, with participants required to fill out a baseline survey, which lasts 45 minutes. The survey can also be done in increments rather that all at one time.

The next step will be a face-to-face interview, which can be scheduled online. The interviews will be 4 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 and 7 to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 25 at the Sister Carolyn Stoutz Conference Center at Mercy Hospital Ardmore. During the interview, blood will be drawn, and there will be a measurement of the waist. Foster said there is a goal of a 25 percent population diversity as well as a focus on men, as more women than men take part in the study. The age groups included in the study are 30 to 65.

Following the face-to-face interview, a survey will be sent out every two years. Foster said the information is confidential.

Foster said prior studies have been instrumental in lifestyle changes. The studies have recognized the effects of second-hand smoke, and have changed smoking habits, as it is not done in office settings and in airplanes.

"What we are going to find in this study are the things that make us look back 20 years from now and wonder, what were we doing?" Foster said.

Kelly Fryer, American Cancer Society, said she was pleased with the number of Ardmoreites who have elected to take part in the study.

"We started a Facebook page a couple of weeks ago and started enrollment in July," she said. "I am pleased (with number of people signing up)."

Fryer said she has received feedback from those who have signed up, and the process is easy. For additional information or to enroll in the study, call (888) 604-5888, log onto or visit the CPS-3 Ardmore, OK page on Facebook.