A sweeping study on how genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle choices play a part in the development of cancer was launched Wednesday.

The study of 300,000 Canadians will take place over the next 20 to 30 years and gather information on cancer risk factors through surveys and blood collection. Participants will range in age from 35 to 69 and be randomly selected from across Canada.

The study involves health-related organizations in a number of regions. The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, a federally funded organization, is providing $42 million for the project and will help co-ordinate the overall effort, a CPAC spokesperson said. The information gathered will be used by researchers and policy makers in the study and treatment of cancer.

"The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project will build an enormous bank of information that Canadian and international researchers can draw upon in the short term and create a legacy for future generations," said Jeff Lozon, chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, in a release.

"We have made significant progress in preventing many cancers and in managing and treating others, but the information from this research will fuel better prevention and screening programs — the cornerstones of reducing the number of Canadians getting cancer," said Heather Bryant, a vice-president with the partnership.

Partner organizations in five regions will be involved in the survey: the B.C. Cancer Agency, the Alberta Cancer Board, Cancer Care Ontario with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Quebec's CARTaGENE project and Cancer Care Nova Scotia with Dalhousie University.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer will commit $42 million to the project, with the regions contributing $41 million. The survey's organizers aim to raise over $100 million in the next six to nine months.