Take Action to Prevent Cancer - Video Transcript

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Date: February, 2009
Duration: 0 / 03:58

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Today, people everywhere benefit from research-based discoveries. In fact, more than 10 million cancer survivors are alive today because of the remarkable advances made through cancer research.

At M. D. Anderson, we don’t just explore better ways to treat cancer – we want to understand how to prevent it too. By participating in a prevention study, you can learn more about the causes of cancer and how to avoid them.

Some prevention studies may collect personal, lifestyle, medical and family history information to learn more about the health needs of the community. When you participate in a prevention study you may be asked to change certain behaviors, such as exercising more or quitting smoking, or you may be asked to take certain medicines, vitamins or food supplements.

Participants in a cancer prevention study are volunteers. They must meet specific requirements to join a research study. These might include age, gender and medical history. Participants are given information about the potential risks and benefits of the study. This process is called informed consent. Each research study is carefully monitored to make sure that personal information is protected and that safeguards are in place to prevent harm to participants. A participant can choose to stop participating in a study at any time.

Researchers at M. D. Anderson, lead by Dr. Karen Basen-Engquist, are currently conducting a study,called For Good Measure, to compare physical activity, physical fitness and body composition measures.

Karen Basen-Engquist:

It’s a collaborative study between the departments of Epidemiology, with Dr. Michele Forman, the department of Health Disparities, with Dr. Wetter and Dr. Lorna McNeill, as well as faculty in our own department of Behavioral Science. The goal of the study is to test out measures of fitness, body composition and physical activity that can be done in participants’ homes. Most of the time, our studies bring participants into our exercise laboratory or other centralized facility to do these measures and that’s how the most accurate measures are done. But because many of our studies are large or involve participants who live in a wide geographic area, we’re looking for good measures of these variables that can be done in participants’ homes, so we can involve more individuals in our studies of cancer prevention and cancer survivorship, especially as variables related to activity, fitness and body composition are looking to be more and more important in the areas of cancer prevention and control.


Men age 45 and younger and women age 55 and younger, with no history of cancer and not more than one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, are eligible to participate in this study.

Jonathan Avalos, study participant:

I was interested in being part of the For Good Measure study because I wanted to make a more accurate assessment of my fitness. I’d always felt I was in fairly decent shape, but I didn’t really have any accurate measure of that, and so I joined it. And what I got out of it was basically some much, much more effective exercise techniques from the staff, including things like improving cardiovascular fitness through shorter, but more intense exercise sessions rather than these long jogging sessions that never really helped me improve my fitness.


Participating in a prevention study may help to improve your overall health and wellbeing, as well as possibly lower your chance of getting cancer in the future. If you’d like to participate or just learn more about prevention studies at M. D. Anderson, call askMDAnderson at 1-877-MDA-6789 or visit www.mdanderson.org/preventionstudy.

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