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Power of the People

June 27, 2013

Population-based studies provide answers to critical questions about the prevention of cancer and other diseases. VICC manages three large population-based prospective cohort studies with more than 225,000 participants.

The Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), initiated in 2001 and supported by Caterpillar Inc., has enrolled more than 86,000 participants in 12 states. It seeks to answer why certain groups, such as African-Americans, the poor, or those living in particular geographical areas, experience a disproportionately high burden of cancer. A series of studies are being carried out in energy balance, inflammation, selenium and other dietary factors, tobacco carcinogen metabolism, genetic propensity, cancer screening practices and survivorship.

The Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS) enrolled 75,000 Chinese women who lived in Shanghai from 1996-2000. The resources from this prospective cohort study have supported approximately 40 ongoing or planned studies. Approximately 100 research papers have been published using data and biological samples collected in the SWHS. The study has discovered that a high intake of soy foods, folate and certain vegetables reduces the risk of breast cancer, and that consumption of Vitamin E may lower the risk of liver cancer.

The Shanghai Men’s Health Study (SMHS) is conducted in parallel with the SWHS. Recruitment of more than 61,000 participants took place between 2001-2006. The study has found that nonsmokers who drank green tea regularly had a 46 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer.