Thursday, October 30, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The American Cancer Society says that mammograms detect 80 percent to 90 percent of breast cancers in women without symptoms, and all women 40 and older should get a yearly mammogram.

"Mammography remains the most effective screening test for the early detection of breast cancer available to women today," Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer, said in a society news release. "Women are strongly urged to schedule their mammograms yearly and to talk to their doctor regularly about their risk for breast cancer."

Early detection by mammography screening and improvements in treatment have contributed to a decline in the breast cancer death rate in the United States since 1990. However, recent evidence suggests that many women are getting mammograms at a later age, not scheduling them yearly, or aren't receiving appropriate and timely follow-up after positive breast cancer screening results.

Along with recommending yearly mammograms and clinical breast examinations for women over age 40, the American Cancer Society says that women ages 20 to 39 should undergo clinical breast examination at least once every three years. All women should be familiar with their breasts and immediately report any changes to their health care provider.

Women at high risk for breast cancer (greater than a 20 percent lifetime risk) should have an annual MRI and mammogram, and women at moderate risk (15 percent to 20 percent lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram.

Complete screening guidelines along with more information about breast cancer is available at or call 1800.ACS.2345

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Is Relay For Life?

Survivors Lap

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.

Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.

No matter who you are, there’s a place for you at Relay. To participate, form a team, or dedicate a luminaria please call Regina at 479-394-6172 or visit

Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people to:

• Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
• Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
• Fight Back. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.

There is not a required amount of money to raise in order to participate in Relay For Life. The American Cancer Society's recommendation is for each participant to set a personal goal to raise $100. If you raise more, that's even better. If you do not raise $100, you are still welcome to participate. We're glad to have you. The only requirement to participate in Relay For Life is the $10 registration/commitment fee (per person) that is due upon registration. After that, anything you can raise through individual, team, or online fundraising is graciously accepted.



Luminaria are paper bags filled with sand and illuminated by a small light or candle.

Gina has been involved in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life for a number of years. She first got involved by traveling to Enumclaw, Washington to be a part of the Relay For Life there. Her sister Roberta is very involved with the Enumclaw Relay For Life. Luminaria are an important part of Relay For Life events. Each Luminaria bears the name of a person who has faced cancer, or those who have lost their battle. Each bag represents a life and story, survivor or memory – all donated in the spirit of love.

The Luminaria are placed around the track and lit as sunset approaches. As night falls it is a beautiful and poignant scene to see all the lit luminaria.


There is a Luminaria Ceremony that offers everyone at Relay the opportunity to honor and remember those whose lives have been touched by cancer. Luminaria also raise money for Relay For Life.

Luminary Ceremony

Gina and I have been involved in the Relay For Life event here in Polk county for the last two years. Gina is the Relay For Life Chairperson for Polk County. It is a passion of ours because of all of the family members and friends who have battled cancer. We decorated a float for the 2007 Christmas parade here in Mena. Our theme was Luminaria. Gina made a large Luminaria from a refrigerator box, and we lit it with a floor lamp. We had Luminaria all along the sides of the float that we lit with glow sticks.

Luminaria on Christmas Parade Float

Relay For Life Float

If you have never been involved in a Relay For Life, find out if there is one in your community and become a part of it. In 2008 there were over 5,000 Relay For Life events with over 3 million people participating. Don't miss out on the fun of this important event. Last year over 400 million dollars was raised by Relay For Life for cancer research, education, advocacy and service.

Polk County Relay For Life 2007