This year's Canal Winchester Relay For Life will be one of only 138 sites nationwide - and the only one in central Ohio - where residents can register to participate in a long-term study by the American Cancer Society.

This year's Canal Winchester Relay For Life will be one of only 138 sites nationwide - and the only one in central Ohio - where residents can register to participate in a long-term study by the American Cancer Society.

Adults ages 30-65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer can sign up to participate in Cancer Prevention Study 3. It will track 500,000 residents of the U.S. and Puerto Rico for 20 years, Canal Winchester resident Joy Brooks said.

Brooks is in charge of enrolling 150 central Ohioans in the study.

"The major focus will be on weight, genetics and physical activity," she said.

Canal Winchester's Relay For Life is scheduled for June 11-12 at Canal Winchester High School. Enrollment in the ACS study will take place only from 6-10 p.m. June 11.

"You don't have to be participant in the Relay For Life, just tell the people at the registration desk that you're here for the cancer study," Brooks said.

"We're inviting everybody. We want a wide range of ethnic groups."

Those interested in enrolling will be asked to fill out a brief survey. Volunteers will take waist measurements, and phlebotomists from Quest Labs will draw a small blood sample. All information will be kept confidential.

The entire process will take 20-30 minutes, Brooks said.

Those who are selected to participate in the study will be mailed a longer questionnaire, and will be asked to fill out similar surveys every two to three years, she said.

"Over the next 20 years or so, if they receive a cancer diagnosis, their information will be matched up with lifestyles or genetics are similar and (the researchers) will try to figure out why people in that group get cancer and try to find a cure," Brooks said.

The American Cancer Society's studies have made important discoveries, ACS Relay organizer Sue Pairan said.

"The first one made the link between smoking and lung cancer," she said. The second one, a continuing study similar to the one about to begin, has established a link between obesity and certain types of cancer.

Brooks became involved in Canal Winchester's Relay For Life in 2005, its first year.

"A friend of mine had just received a breast cancer diagnosis, and she formed a team called Sarah's Survivors," she explained.

Sarah Snyder's treatment was successful, and she'll be at this year's relay to participate in the Survivors Lap, Brooks said.

"It was just an extremely important event in Canal Winchester, and then I started my own team from our church (Hope United Methodist)," Brooks said.

Canal Winchester was chosen as one of the 138 sites to host enrollment in CPS3 because of its traditionally high participation and fundraising levels, she said. Two years ago, the Canal Winchester Relay For Life raised $110,000.

"The relay is a chance to celebrate, remember and fight back, and this year the fight back has a special meaning," Brooks said.

"We will have an opportunity to really participate in a worthwhile way, to fight back by helping the American Cancer Society researchers find a cure for cancer."

Visit relayforlife.org/canalwinchester.