What if you could be a part of helping to discover better ways to prevent, treat and hopefully cure cancer. And what if it would cost you nothing, other than a little time. Would you take the time if it meant your children, or grandchildren, would never have to hear the words, “You have cancer”?

Answer yes and you can be a part of history.

You can register now to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study — 3 (CPS-3). Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have no personal history of cancer (aside from basal and squamous cell skin cancers) are invited to join this historic, once-in-a-generation research study. The purpose of CPS-3 is to better understand the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and to ultimately eliminate cancer as a major health problem for this and future generations.

To date more than 203,000 people have joined the movement by enrolling in the historic CPS-3 study. With their help and participation in this study, we will continue our work to eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations.

Why should you participate? Here are some reasons:

In my case, I joined in 2002 because I lost my father, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my first husband to cancer, along with multiple relatives and friends. My second husband lost his sister at age 38 to breast cancer, along with his mother and other relatives. Then I developed cancer in 2007. Others have joined for the following reasons:

• Although fundraising is important, this experience put me in touch with people on a person-to-person basis and made me feel like I was doing something instead of just throwing money at it.

• I have lost several people close to me from cancer, and I’d like to do something to contribute to the body of knowledge to fight this disease.

• I am in good health, and here is something I could really do to be a tiny bit of help!

• I lost my aunt to cancer. For the last few months, I have been trying to figure out a way to honor her memory. The best way I can honor her memory is by joining this study.

Participation is easy. There are five locations around Tucson for you to choose from: El Dorado Health Campus, University of Arizona Cancer Center North, Northwest Fire District Training Center, Tucson Medical Center and El Casino Ballroom. Once you schedule your appointment, you will receive instructions on how to complete your first, most comprehensive survey online. This survey will take about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Your on-site visit — between Oct. 16 and 25 — will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes and will involve completing a short survey, signing a consent form, providing a waist circumference measurement, and providing a small blood sample (similar to a doctor’s visit). After enrollment, you will receive mailed surveys at home every one to three years to update your information.

This year, the American Cancer Society celebrated its 100th birthday — 100 years of saving lives and creating more birthdays. During the past 100 years, we’ve witnessed that cancer hates noise, commotion and action. It thrives on silence and complacency. Progress comes when we speak out, when we make noise and participate. We are determined to make this cancer’s last century.

It’s often far too easy to underestimate the importance of cancer research … until you hear the words “you have cancer.” Those three words can make all the difference between simply absorbing news about developments in cancer research and truly appreciating the power of what scientists like those funded by the American Cancer Society do each and every day.

I encourage all eligible men and women in our community to consider taking part in this important study. I also call on my fellow cancer survivors to spread the word by asking friends and family members to enroll in your honor.

So let’s make noise. Let’s get loud, Tucson! Whether or not you are able to enroll in CPS-3, we hope that you will join us in spreading the word. CPS-3 is your chance to take action.

Remember: Research being done today will help ensure future generations never have to hear those dreaded three words.

Dr. Margaret Drugay is chairwoman of the Cancer Prevention Study 3 — Tucson.

Dr. Margaret Drugay is chairwoman of the Cancer Prevention Study 3 — Tucson.