The ABC Study is a long-term study and aims to follow-up participants every 3 years. Each follow-up will involve a new questionnaire to capture changes in participant’s health and lifestyle over time as well as asking some new information that was not captured in previous questionnaires. Participants may also be invited to additional components such as providing samples or participating in substudies.
All study components are voluntary. Participants will have the option at each stage to choose to participate in some or all of the available study components.
Follow - up Questionnaires
Participants were invited to participate in the first round of follow-up (follow-up 1) between 2019 and 2021. It included two questionnaires. The first asked about general health, body size, smoking, diabetes, sun exposure and daily activities. The second asked about consumption of all types of beverages including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
The second round of follow-up (follow-up 2) will commence in 2022 and will continue to the end of 2024.
The questionnaire includes questions about: general health, body size, smoking, alcohol consumption, medical conditions, medication use, physical activity, sleep, and COVID-19.
Faecal (poo) sample
Participants will also be invited to provide a poo sample for the study. A sampling kit will be sent out in the post that can be completed at home and returned via post. Instructions will be included with the kit or you can access them here.
Poo samples offer a means of assessing the gut microbiome – the community of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), and their metabolic products, that inhabit the human body. This will enable research into the association of the gut microbiome with lifestyle factors and cancer and other disease outcomes.
Please note: This is unrelated to the National Bowel Cancer Screening program and your sample will not be screened for cancer. You are still invited to provide a sample for the study if you have recently completed the National Bowel Cancer Screening kit, and participation in this component should not alter your participation in routine screening.
As part of follow-up we will be inviting those who have not yet already provided a blood sample to do so. Blood samples are provided at a local pathology clinic at no cost to participants.
Blood samples will allow the researchers to examine a wider range of measures (plasma proteins, vitamins, phospholipid membrane fatty acids, C reactive protein, circulating endogenous hormones) in addition to DNA. This allows them to analyse whether biomarkers (eg. hormones, markers of inflammation), or certain drugs or micronutrients (eg. aspirin, vitamins) have associations with cancer that vary depending on a person’s underlying genetic risk.
Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme information
Participants will be invited to consent to the release of some personal Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme claim information to the Australian Breakthrough Cancer Study in order to investigate health service usage, medication usage and health outcomes.
Periodically, information about participants may be collected by Cancer Council Victoria from their records held by various service providers. We also collect information about participants from other organisations to update and verify our records without needing to contact them too often. At the time you registered for the study you consented to us obtaining information from:
- State and Territory Cancer Registries
- The Australian Cancer Database
- The National Death Index
- Other health databases, both public and private
To date we have linked with the National Death Index and Cancer Registry data.