Skip to main content

About the Study

A group of diverse older adults standing together with their arms around each other looking to camera

Working Together to Prevent Cancer

The Connect for Cancer Prevention Study wants to better understand the causes of cancer and how to prevent it. We are asking you to join Connect so that we can study the health and behavior patterns that may affect cancer risk.

Together, we can change the future of cancer prevention.

Why Connect Is Important

If we learn how to prevent cancer, we can lower the number of people who get it. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. While treatments are improving, the number of people who get cancer is expected to rise in the next 10 years as the population ages and lifestyles and behaviors continue to change.

To study the causes of cancer and learn how to prevent it, we can follow groups of people over a long period of time. In research, we call these groups cohorts. The Connect for Cancer Prevention Study will follow a new cohort of 200,000 adults throughout the United States.

Two women who are a couple are swinging a child held between them and smiling

We are looking for people who have never had cancer to join Connect, but there are some exceptions. If you have or once had non-melanoma skin cancer, or a condition that raises the risk of getting cancer, such as DCIS of the breast (stage 0 breast cancer), you can still join Connect. If you have any of these conditions, we hope you join Connect. We are interested in learning how these conditions may relate to cancer risk.

Patterns that affect cancer risk may vary based on where people live, their race or ethnicity, their age, and other factors. It is important for Connect to include many types of people so that new discoveries can benefit everybody.

We are launching Connect today because modern cohorts are needed to study new and future exposures that may affect cancer risk. We are using new technology and research methods that can lead to key discoveries to prevent cancer.

What to Expect If You Decide to Join

We will reach out to you when you join the study and then a few times each year to ask for updates about your health and information about things like your habits, diet, exercise, and use of alcohol or tobacco.

We will also ask you to donate samples of blood, urine, and saliva (biological specimens) when you join the study and every two or three years after. These samples provide information about what is going on in your body. Information from different types of samples can help us find health and behavior patterns that may affect cancer risk. Learn more from our What to Expect page.

Connect will go on for many years because events that may affect cancer risk happen over a lifetime, and most cancers develop later in life. If you join, we hope you take part for many years. The longer you participate, the more we may learn.

Where This Study Takes Place

For a study of this size and importance, we partnered with nine health care systems throughout the United States. People who get their health care through these systems tend to stay for a long time. This is an important quality for cohort studies like ours that need to follow people over the course of their lives.

Health care systems store private, protected information about their patients’ health from all aspects of care in the form of electronic health records (EHRs). By agreeing to share the information in your EHRs with Connect, researchers can get a full picture of your health. We can also coordinate with your health care system to collect leftover samples from your regular health care visits, like stool or urine, or tissue from people who develop a cancer or precancer.

About Our Researchers

Woman wearing a lab coat looking at a tablet computer

The Connect for Cancer Prevention Study is being led by our team of federal government researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and researchers at partner health care systems. Study teams at partner health care systems have experience conducting research studies like Connect, and many have particular expertise in research related to cancer.

Our team at NCI is part of the largest cancer research group in the world that studies the causes of disease, or epidemiology. Our team and other researchers at NCI have long histories of studying cancer and have made important discoveries. For example, in another cohort study, we found that drinking coffee was associated with lower risk of death from cancer and other causes. This was good news for coffee drinkers! NCI research informs public health policy in the United States and around the world. Connect will contribute evidence that can impact public health policy far into the future.

A Resource for Science

Our team and others at NCI develop research resources and partnerships for the broader research community. We will safely store information from Connect online so researchers around the world can work together to study the causes of cancer and learn how to prevent it. Scientists in cancer research and other areas who are not part of Connect can ask to use the information we collect for their research. We will protect your privacy by removing information that can identify you from your survey answers and samples before we share them with other researchers. The more scientists who study the information we collect, the more we can discover. To learn more about how we safely store and share information, visit the Your Privacy section of this site.

Researchers interested in studying information collected through the Connect for Cancer Prevention Study can learn more about the cohort and how to request access to shared resources.