In order to understand why we are asking these particular questions, let’s first take a look at how health research occurs in a study of this size.
A broad range of factors contribute to how healthy we are. Our genetics, our family history of certain diseases, and our neighborhood, friendships and support systems, and jobs all contribute to our health.
With over 133,000 original participants, it’s important for us to consider all the possible variables that may influence your health, even if they only affect a small percentage of our study population, so we can account for all potentially confounding variables.
In order for the CTS to study a health risk factor, the team needs to determine the following:
Does the risk factor or exposure exist among our study participants?
If a researcher is interested in studying a particular factor, it is necessary to find out if that factor is even present among all of you.
A researcher interested in osteoporosis might have read that spending type in zero gravity can lower bone density, but a quick review of your collective employment history would reveal that it’s not a topic worth studying in this group!
How can we ask questions that allow us to measure exposure?
With over 100,000 active study participants, the questionnaire needs to include questions that capture and quantify your exposure to a given factor that may affect your health. Each one of you has unique health experiences, so the questions are designed to capture snapshot of your overall health and provide answers that can be mathematically analyzed!
Does the exposure actually contribute to sickness?
After the questionnaire collects those data, the team can analyze your answers to see whether a factor actually contributes to an increased risk of diseases among our study participants.
While we have hypotheses about whether certain things contribute to an increased risk of cancer, we carefully and scientifically examine each factor and that associated health outcome in order to determine if A causes B.
Each topic chosen for Questionnaire 6 was included because there is existing evidence to support the hypothesis that this factor or exposure may affect risk for cancer or other health outcomes. CTS researchers carefully selected the questions to generate the data needed to test these hypotheses and better understand the health risks in our study population.
Keep an eye out for more information on these topics in future blog posts!
Note: If you have received Questionnaire 6 but not yet completed it, there's still time! Just open up the email invitation we sent you, click on the link, and your questionnaire will re-open. If you have not yet received Questionnaire 6, keep an eye out for the paper version coming your way later this year.