Establishment of the Michigan Cancer and Research on the Environment Study (MI-CARES) cohort Lilah Khoja*  Khoja Maxwell Salvatorre Minh Tung Phung Sara Snyder Shayiza Ahmed Isabella de Sa Anna Graf Manar Aljebori Sailing Jane Tang Burnley Truax Melanie Vukovich Ken Resnicow Justin Colacino Alison Mondul Bhramar Mukherjee Dana Dolinoy Leigh Pearce
The Michigan Cancer and Research on the Environment Study (MI-CARES) is establishing a cohort of over 100,000 Michiganders to examine associations between environmental exposures and cancer risk. Michigan is uniquely positioned for this research due to past and ongoing adverse environmental exposures.
Any Michigan resident aged 25-44 can enroll, allowing us to capture exposures during important windows of susceptibility prior to most cancers’ onset. As minority populations are underrepresented in environment and cancer research despite having worse cancer outcomes and being at greater risk of being exposed to environmental hazards, we will enroll equal numbers of Black, Latinx, MENA and White participants.
To democratize participation, remote and paper options for enrollment are available in Arabic, English and Spanish. In addition to a baseline questionnaire, consent for data linkage, and annual follow-up surveys, participants are also asked to provide saliva and blood spot samples via mail. These will be analyzed for environmental exposures such as heavy metals and for intermediate cancer markers. Participant data will be linked to exposure databases through their residential address history and to local and national cancer and vital statistics registries.
MI-CARES has employed a multifaceted community engagement and recruitment strategy, working with community organizations to recruit participants. A stakeholder advisory board with representatives from Metro Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Bay City-Saginaw-Midland, and northern Michigan is being established to ensure that the communities’ needs are considered and met.
Some 2,000 individuals have already enrolled. The challenges and strategies of establishing this contemporary and diverse prospective cohort study will be discussed. MI-CARES is part of the Cohorts for Environmental Exposures and Cancer Risk (CEECR) consortium.