As the American Cancer Society approaches its 100th birthday in 2013, we've embarked on a landmark national study, the Cancer Prevention Study-3, with the goal of creating a cancer-free world.

We'd like to congratulate residents of the Baltimore region for their incredible response to volunteering to participate in this study, and we want to thank The Sun and the Aegis for their excellent coverage that has helped spread the word.

So far, more than 2,100 people in the Baltimore region and Western Maryland have enrolled. Enrollment will continue next year in Allegheny, Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Washington counties, with additional sites being planned. People who wish to participate in the study do not have to live in the area where they enroll.

On behalf of the American Cancer Society, I would also like to thank the many businesses, hospitals, schools, community centers, health departments, churches and athletic clubs that are partnering with us and providing enrollment locations to make the study a success.

The study seeks to understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause cancer and to recruit a diverse group of 300,000 Americans. Nationally, we have surpassed the half-way mark to this goal, but we need more volunteers.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. About 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012, and more than 1,500 people a day die from cancer.

By joining the study, Marylanders can help researchers make progress toward the elimination of cancer as a major health problem for present and future generations. Earlier studies proved the link between tobacco and cancer in the 1950s and linked obesity and second-hand smoke to cancer.

Marylanders between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer and are willing to make a long-term commitment to CPS-3 are encouraged to sign up when enrollment begin again in March 2013. Please check cancer.org for dates.

Those who choose to enroll simply fill out a comprehensive survey packet about health history, provide a small blood sample (to be collected by trained phlebotomists) and provide a waist measure. Participants will be sent a follow-up questionnaire periodically for the next 20 to 30 years.

If you aren't eligible to participate, you can still make a difference by telling everyone you know about Cancer Prevention Study-3.

Gloria Jetter Crockett

The writer is vice president of the Maryland chapter of the American Cancer Society.