Is it too late to complete the questionnaires or saliva sample?

The ABC Study is still collecting data and registered participants can login and complete the questionnaires until 30 November. If you have been sent a saliva kit, you can still complete and return it for use in our research. If you have not yet received a kit, we will not be posting any more saliva kits at this stage.

How long will it take to complete the questionnaires?

It is difficult to estimate the time that the questionnaires will take to complete, because it depends on the complexity of your family structure and medical history. Users have reported that it has been taking from as little as 45 minutes and up to about 2 hours.

You will not have to complete all the sections at one time. Once registered, you will be able to log in and out at any time. All completed details will be saved for you to continue at your convenience.

How is my personal information kept secure?

The security of your information is a high priority. We undertake a number of measures to ensure this.

The website runs in secure mode. Data travelling between your computer and the website is encrypted and can’t be captured by a third party. We also run security testing on the website to ensure the website itself has no vulnerabilities.

Any saliva, blood or samples collected from you will be stored indefinitely at the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory at The University of Melbourne. They will be stored securely and only Cancer Council Victoria and Melbourne University authorised staff will have access to them. Your biological samples will be labelled with a unique code and only designated staff will be able to link that code to you.

Where do I send my saliva sample?

The Reply Paid address for returning the saliva sample is:

Cancer Epidemiology Centre
Reply Paid 89916

You should have received a reply paid envelope that included the address. Apologies if this was not the case. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Who is selected to provide a blood sample?

A small number of participants (10 - 20% percent) will also be invited to provide a blood sample, after they have completed the questionnaires and saliva sample. Although a saliva sample has been provided for DNA analysis, it is believed that the additional biomarkers available in blood (eg. plasma proteins (albumin, globulins), serum, vitamins, phospholipid membrane fatty acids, proteins, circulating endogenous hormones) may enable researchers to better understand the development of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Participants are chosen based on what is reported to us in the family history questionnaire. These participants have at least one close relative with cancer. 

The ABC study seeks to understand the role that genetic and lifestyle factors play in the health and development of chronic diseases.

To learn more about the blood sample, please refer to the Blood Sample FAQs.

I do not want to provide saliva or blood biospecimens, are you still interested in me taking part in this study?

As an important part of the study is looking at the influence of genes, we do request either a saliva sample or blood sample. If you are participating and prefer to opt out of this component, please let us know.

Will you inform me of any saliva and blood analysis results?

We need to collect and test samples from many people before we can draw meaningful conclusions. The research using the information you provide could take some years to complete.

We will not be providing you with personal results, unless they have important implications for your health or the health of your family. If our research uncovers any such information, we will seek approval from Cancer Council Victoria's Human Research Ethics Committee to contact you, or the members of your family affected by the information, and offer access to the information. You, or your family members, may decline to receive the information. Please note, the analyses may not be conducted for several years.

Can I opt out of this research study at any time?

If you would like to withdraw at anytime, please contact us by email at abcstudy@cancervic.org.au or phone 1800 688 419.

What should I do if I change address or my information changes?

Please alert us of any change to postal or email address, so that we may stay in touch and to keep our records accurate and complete. Simply send us an email to info@abcstudy.com.au, including your date of birth so we can be sure we are correcting the right record. Or call us on 1 800 688 419.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with cancer at a later stage?

Those who have consented to take part in the study have agreed to allow us to periodically contact relavant organisations, such as the Cancer Registries, on their behalf. You can also alert us, if you wish, by sending an email at info@abcstudy.com.au or give us a call on 1 800 688 419.

I have a friend/relative with cancer, what help/support do you have available for them?

Cancer Council can be contacted on 13 11 20 for information and support. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and staffed by experienced cancer nurses with oncology qualifications.

Although they can't give individual medical advice, they can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during processes like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other cancer treatments.

Cancer Council Victoria's website also has resources and information available, with some in other languages.

What happens next?

The study closed for new registrations on 30 June 2018. Our focus is now on collecting data from those who have not yet completed the questionnaire or sent back a saliva sample. There is one sub-study that has already begun (ABC Accelerometer Sub-Study) and we are planning another regarding the gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms living inside you). Next year, we will begin to contact some participants to update some of the questionnaire data and ask a few new questions.

What is non-melanoma skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the skin. There are three main types: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which are called non-melanoma skin cancers, and melanoma.

If you are unsure which type you were diagnosed with, please check with your GP or specialist before registering for the ABC Study.

How is this research study being funded?

The ABC Study is funded by donations to Cancer Council Victoria. We also have support from the Ian Potter Foundation and The Harry Secomb Foundation and the Percy Baxter Charitable Trust, managed by Perpetual.