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Cancer in crosshairs at Woodwinds

Scott Sardeson, a 3M employee, provides a blood sample Thursday, June 20, at Woodwinds Health Campus as part of a cancer prevention study.

If cancer prevention practices don't move forward in coming years, researchers won't have Woodbury to blame.

Community members turned out in droves at Woodwinds Health Campus on Thursday, June 20, to participate in the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Prevention Study 3.

Event organizers said the Woodbury hospital turned out the highest level of participation in the study of any community in the Twin Cities.

Holly Guerrero, senior account manager for the ACS, attributed the turnout to "great volunteers in the community helping spread the word."

Woodwinds recorded 273 pre-registrations for the study, which ACS officials hope will develop a picture of how people's lifestyle, genetics and their environment affect cancer and how those factors can lead to prevention efforts.

Participants completed a survey that probed things like nutrition, physical activity, medical history, medication and the state of their living and work environments. After that, they provided a blood sample that researchers will study in coming years as participants engage in follow-up surveys.

Woodwinds' contribution alone comprised 10 percent of the ACS' goal of enrolling 2,000 Twin Citians in the study.

"It's a life-saving study," Guerrero said. "We're hoping to eliminate cancer."

That effort connected strongly with Alisa Rabin-Bell, who participated in the study. The Woodbury woman said cancer is "extremely prevalent" in both her and her husband's family.

If the study means saving potentially saving the lives of her daughter or her nieces and nephews, Rabin-Bell said she's more than happy to turn over the 20 or-so minutes it took at Woodwinds.

"There's got to be a cure for this," she said. "There's got to be something we can do."

Organizers hope the nationwide study, which first launched in 2006, will enroll at least 300,000 people by the end of this year. Guerrero said approximately 230,000 had enrolled through last week.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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