A world free of cancer? Is it possible? The American Cancer Society is working toward that lofty goal in numerous ways. It's a goal undertaken almost 100 years ago.

During that century, the ACS has been able to determine that cancers are caused by a number of different factors, including genetics, lifestyle activities, certain infections and environmental exposures.

A new research study, CPS-3, is now getting under way to gain a better understanding of how each of those factors may cause, or prevent cancer.

With cancer prevention as its ultimate goal, the ACS is looking for volunteers, between the ages of 30 and 65, who have never been diagnosed with cancer, to participate in the new study.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with a non-melanoma form of skin cancer, such as basal or squamous cell cancer, will be eligible to participate.

The long-term project is expected to continue for up to 20 years with participants filling out an initial survey form detailing their medical history and lifestyle habits, as well as providing a small blood sample for reference.

Researchers hope to enroll 300,000 participants from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

After the initial survey, participants will be contacted approximately every two years with additional questionnaires to update their information. This will provide researchers with a scientifically valid study to better determine risk factors and prevention techniques.

The blood sample is needed to measure factors such as hormone levels, nutrients, vitamins, chemicals, metals and genetic factors that may be related to the risk of developing cancer.

Participants will not be notified of the blood test results, as the sample is for research purposes only, but will receive newsletters and emails of the overall results. Updates and articles will also be posted on the American Cancer Society's website, www.cancer.org.

There are no costs associated with the study.

"This is a chance for regular people to be apart of history," said Jim Mathiesen, Regional Health Initiative Director, Eastern Region, ACS. "This is regular people helping in the fight against cancer."

If you've ever wondered how you can help in the fight against cancer, the CPS-3 is your answer. Enroll at www.Schuylkillcountycps3.org (all residents in the TIMES NEWS coverage area, who meet the criteria, are eligible). Then select one of the four enrollment sessions offered in this area. The closest will be Sept. 17, 3-7 p.m., at the LCCC Student Center, Van Gelder Street in Tamaqua. Other enrollment sessions include: Sept. 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Schuylkill County Visitors Center in Pottsville; Sept. 18, 3-7 p.m., at the Frackville Senior Citizens Center; and Sept. 19, 3-7 p.m., at First United Church of Christ in Schuylkill Haven.

For more information, call (570) 874-1413, 1-888-604-5888 or visit the ACS online at www.cancer.org/cps3.