Sanford Health launches research study on cancer prevention

Jon Berg
Sanford Health Media Relations
605-366-2432 /

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Aug. 6, 2021 — Sanford Health has started recruitment for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, Connect for Cancer Prevention Study (Connect). Connect is designed to explore the causes of cancer and learn more about how to prevent it.

Sanford is one of nine health care systems across the country participating in this cutting-edge research. Together, these health care systems and the NCI seek to recruit 200,000 eligible adults over the next five years to participate in the study.

“What is so unique about this study is that it looks at people who don’t have cancer and follows them throughout their lifespan to determine what, if any, lifestyle choices or genetics may or may not cause them to develop cancer later in their life,” said Dr. David A. Pearce, president of innovation, research and world clinics at Sanford Health. “This is a great opportunity for people in the Midwest to participate in a national study that will benefit the health and wellbeing of future generations.”

Connect is a long-term study. It takes time to understand the causes of cancer, so participants are asked to take part in the study for many years. They will be asked to complete online health surveys a few times a year and to donate samples of blood, urine, and saliva every two to three years. Safeguards for privacy and confidentiality will be in place to protect participants’ data and biological samples.

Sanford aims to recruit more than 1,000 people in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area initially who are between the ages of 30 and 70 and have no history of cancer to participate in the study. The health systems hopes to eventually expand the study to more than 10,000 people across the Midwest in the next five years.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. While much progress in treatments has been made, the number of people who will develop cancer is expected to rise in the next 10 years as the population ages and lifestyles and behaviors change,” said Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., Director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG).

“The Connect for Cancer Prevention Study will explore novel and emerging exposures that may affect cancer risk. This study will change the future of cancer prevention,” said Montserrat Garcia-Closas, M.D, Dr.P.H., Deputy Director of NCI’s DCEG and Connect Principal Investigator.

Through Connect, NCI researchers hope to identify factors that could affect cancer risk and other health outcomes. These findings have the potential to influence public health and cancer prevention guidance for years to come. Participants in Connect will be a part of a community representing diverse places and backgrounds to ensure everyone can benefit from the discoveries.

To learn more about the Connect for Cancer Prevention Study, visit

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.