PEORIA, Ill. -- Elise Pate lost her grandmother to breast cancer.
She started working for the American Cancer Society because of it and now her passion for a cure is driven by her son.
"I never want him to hear those words you have cancer," she said.
Pate, a health initiatives representative for the American Cancer Society, is working to enroll central Illinois residents in the organization's nationwide study called CPS-3.
It is the fourth follow-up study to help researchers find what causes cancer and how to prevent it.
Participants must complete a survey, give a blood sample and waist measurement when they enroll.
Scientists will examine the information to determine what role the environment, genetics and lifestyle play in the disease.
"What the American Cancer Society has found is about 30 percent of all cancers could be prevented from lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables," said Pate.
There are three criteria to take part in the study.
A person must be between 30 and 65 years old, have never been diagnosed with cancer and be willing to make a 20 to 30 year commitment, which means completing a short survey every two to three years.
"If I can just have some labs drawn and fill out a survey every once in awhile throughout my life and it helps someone in the future, that'd be great," said Stacy Walker, study participant.
"A lot of times as a caregiver or a family member or friend who has cancer, you don't know what you can do," continued Pate. "This is something you can do."
The American Cancer Society hopes to enroll 750 people in the Peoria, Pekin and Bloomington areas.
To schedule an appointment, visit www.cps3llinois.org.