Study Focuses On Why People Get Cancer

American Cancer Society Looks For 500,000 Research Subjects

Published On: Oct 12 2011 03:35:45 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 07 2011 10:54:50 AM EDT
MIAMI -

A glance at Isaura Mariota's resume will tell you she's a professional researcher who has conducted medical studies on everything from asthma to diabetes.

"Research is my passion. I know what it can do," said Mariota.

In a story about cancer research, one might assume she's the one collecting the data -- but she's not.

"I noticed a lump. I noticed some changes in my breast," said the working mother of two.

She's fighting Stage III breast cancer.

"I felt like I was hit by a truck, like my life was over, that there wasn't any hope, that I was going to die -- leaving my children behind without a mother," said Mariota.

Suddenly, her life's work is more personal than ever. The American Cancer Society is launching what is calls CPS-3. It's an enormous case study with one specific mission.

"This study is trying to answer why. Why are we getting cancer?" said Dr. Alejandra Perez with Memorial Regional.

The American Cancer Society is looking for 500,000 people between the ages of 30 and 65.

"They're going to test for a lot of different things: chemicals, nutrients, vitamins, hormones," said Perez.

Doctors will also monitor things like stress levels, genetics and environment, and they will do so for 20 years.

Mariota can't participate in the study because she's smack in the middle of chemotherapy. The researcher is instead counting on members of the public.

"Does it give you hope?" asked Local 10's Sasha Andrade .

"It does," Mariota replied.

"And how important is hope right now for you?" asked Andrade.

"A lot -- it means a lot to me," said Mariota.

For information on the Cancer Prevention Study, click here . For more information on Local Cancer Walks, visit the American Cancer Society's Making Strides website .