Mayor Morris Flewwelling, who expects to be officially declared prostate cancer free in October, is happy that so many people in Red Deer are participating in the Tomorrow Project research study initiated by Alberta Health Services, Cancer Care.
Flewwelling can’t say he’s cancer-free just yet.
“The doctors will tell me that in October. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m cancer free because the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test said yes and I’ve ceased the drug treatments,” he said on Monday at the temporary study centre for Tomorrow Project set up at Festival Hall until Thursday.
Flewwelling was diagnosed in the early stage of prostate cancer in 2009 and went through a series of radiation treatments in early 2010.
“Most people didn’t know I had prostate cancer.”
He went for radiation treatment in Edmonton.
He said the travelling and commitment was tiring, but once construction of the expanded Central Alberta Cancer Centre is complete in 2013, people won’t have to leave Red Deer for treatment.
“It will be wonderful to have people able to do their treatments here.”
And Flewwelling said he’s very proud that appointments to participate in Tomorrow Project are all booked up in Red Deer. A total of 214 people have signed up to participate this week in the 50-year study to collect detailed information on participants’ lifestyles, diets, careers and physical environments.
Tomorrow Project is already planning a return visit to Red Deer in August due to overwhelming public response.
“I think that speaks volumes about the concern the general public has about cancer and the support for cancer research,” Flewwelling said.
By the spring of 2012, Tomorrow Project wants to enrol 50,000 cancer-free Albertans between the ages of 35 to 69.
So far, 12,000 Albertans have joined the national Tomorrow Project, including some of the 30,000 Albertans who were part of the provincial Tomorrow Project 10 years ago.
Participants fill out a detailed survey and visit the temporary study centres to give a urine sample and a blood or saliva sample. Their measurements and blood pressure will also be taken.
Participants will be contacted every year or so to provide additional information or samples.
Red Deer was only the third study centre to be held in the province.
“It is our goal to come around to small towns in Alberta. We would like to have a really nice mix of people from across the province,” said Donna Wray, project manager for the Tomorrow Project with Alberta Health Services.
“We’re thrilled with the response in Red Deer.”
Wray said researchers across the country have been struggling to find recruits for studies because using phone lists and randomly calling people doesn’t work anymore.
“Everybody has call display and when it’s a 1-800 number, no one picks up.”
Researchers are looking to recruit 300,000 Canadians to be part of the national project to study the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases.
For more information or to join the study, visit in4tomorrow.ca and complete the online form or call 1-877-919-9292.
More than 1,200 Red Deer-area residents participated in an earlier phase of the study.