Participants were asked to complete three online questionnaires:
- Family History: asked about family and the history of cancer within participants' families.
- Health and Lifestyle: asked questions about body size history, smoking, some health conditions, use of medications, medical tests and daily activities.
- Diet: asked questions about eating habits and alcohol consumption.
As the ABC Study is studying the role of genes in the development of cancer, participants were also asked to provide a saliva sample.
A saliva kit was mailed to participants once they had completed the baseline questionnaires.
10,000 participants also provided a blood sample. This sample will allow us to examine more than just DNA, such as the circulating hormones and vitamin and mineral levels in the blood.
The ABC Study will be following the health of those taking part over a long period of time. Some might develop cancer, and part of their diagnosis or treatment could involve the removal of tumour tissue. As samples of these tissues are usually stored by the pathology laboratories, the ABC Study will request access tissue samples from the laboratories for use in the research.
Privacy of samples
Any saliva, blood or samples collected from participants will be stored indefinitely at the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory at Monash University. They will be stored securely and only authorised staff will have access to them. The samples will be labelled with a unique code and only designated staff will have the key to link that code to the participant.
Participant samples could also be provided to other researchers in the future, for use in studies that have been approved by Cancer Council Victoria’s Human Research Ethics Committee.
As this type of research takes many years to conduct, those taking part agree to be followed over many years and alert us of any change to postal or email address, so that we may stay in touch.
Note: Samples collected from 2014 through September 2018 were stored at the University of Melbourne’s Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory. In September 2018 GEL moved from the auspice of the University of Melbourne to Monash University. All samples initially stored at the University of Melbourne were moved to Monash University. All samples will be stored indefinitely at GEL, Monash University. They will be stored securely and only Cancer Council Victoria and Monash University authorised staff will have access to them.