Many times, colorectal cancer can be prevented. Still, it's one of the 5 most common cancers in men and women in the United States. Colorectal cancer is also one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States. Don't let these 5 common myths stop you from getting the lifesaving tests you need, when you need them.
Myth: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.
Truth: Colorectal cancer is just as common among women as men. Each year, about 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and about 50,000 die from the disease.
Myth: Colorectal cancer cannot be prevented.
Truth: In many cases colorectal cancer can be prevented. Colorectal cancer almost always starts with a small growth called a polyp. If the polyp is found early, doctors can remove it and stop colorectal cancer before it starts. These tests can find polyps: double contrast barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy).
To help lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer:
* Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
* Be physically active.
* Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
* Eat a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less red or processed meat.
Myth: African Americans are not at risk for colorectal cancer.
Truth: African-American men and women are diagnosed with and die from colorectal cancer at higher rates than men and women of any other US racial or ethnic group. The reason for this is not yet understood.
Myth: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting colorectal cancer.
Truth: More than 90% of colorectal cancer cases are in people age 50 and older. For this reason, the American Cancer Society recommends you start getting tested for the disease at age 50. People who are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer -- such as those who have colon or rectal cancer in their families -- may need to begin testing at a younger age. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting tested.
Myth: It’s better not to get tested for colorectal cancer because it’s deadly anyway.
Truth: Colorectal cancer is often highly treatable. If it is found and treated early (while it is small and before it has spread), the 5-year survival rate is about 90%. But because many people are not getting tested, only about 4 out of 10 are diagnosed at this early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:39 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2013
This article is titled "Coping With Cancer" and subtitled "How To Support A Friend Or Family Member Dealing With Cancer". It was written by Allan R. Handysides, who is a board -certified gynecologist and is the Director of the Health Ministries Department of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists.
COPING WITH CANCER
By Allen R. Handysides
Cancer is not a single disease entity. Rather, it includes a spectrum of disorders that share a common mechanism. Advances in diagnostic capabilities and the use of population-screening techniques have resulted in cancers being detected in their very early stages-even in "precancerous" stages. It's this capacity to diagnose early cancer that may have softened its image in the minds of many; but cancer is still a malignant and often lethal condition. On the other hand, fear often induces denial or paralysis.
Svetlana was a young Russian physician, newly arrived in Canada with her two delightful children. She was studying for Canadian exams that would permit her a medical residency slot. Her engineer husband supported them financially. She came to see me for routine Pap smears. To my surprise, the report came back indicating "abnormal cells of unknown derivation." The pathologist I used was a proven expert, and I took the report extremely seriously. Colposcopy, endocervical curettage, and endometrial biopsy were all noncontributory to a diagnosis, so I performed a laparoscopic exam.
Upon first viewing the peritoneal cavity, it appeared pristine and healthy, just like its 34-year-old owner. Closer inspection, however, revealed a gelatinous,pale,blueberry-sized lesion on the left ovary. I carefully biopsied it, and then turned my scope to visualize the rest of the cavity. Aided by the magnifying capacity of the laparoscope, I found the peritoneum to be dotted with tiny salt- grain-sized flecks, also of a clear, pale, jelly-type nature. These, too, I biopsied.
A few days later the reports came back, indicating "ovarian/peritoneal cancer." It was clearly widespread and at a late stage, although of very recent onset. She had a particularly virulent form of cancer, and despite the full panoply of therapies, she was dead within five years; as would be 84 percent of people with such widespread cancer.
I recount this story to emphasize the lethal nature of some cancers. I could equally tell of astounding recoveries that, even to a seasoned, skeptical clinician such as I, appear miraculous. I have experienced 50 years of mind-boggling advances in medicine and seen dogged, relentless physicians battle this disease; and yet, I've also witnessed a mysterious groundswell against "standard treatments" that seems to mirror a postmodern mind-set of there being no absolutes, only what we as individuals personally believe. In such a milieu the repeated call for an evidence-based rationale for therapy often goes unheeded.
Many people decide to use what they erroneously term "alternative therapies." An alternative route would take you to the same destination; in the case of cancer, an alternative therapy should provide equal or nearly equal chances of cure. People often do not realize that once a therapy has been shown to be an "alternative" with supporting evidence, it becomes a part of the "standard therapy"-although possibly rated as a second or third alternative.
In Adventist circles lifestyle elements that have been shown to possibly reduce risk of contracting cancer are often promoted as cures. An illustration of the difference between prevention and cure is that of behaviors that lower the risk of a broken leg and the measures required to promote its healing. Prevention and cure are totally different "animals," and while we strongly recommend lifestyle measures for prevention, it's dishonest, negligent, and frankly dangerous to suggest that such measures are curative"
There is absolutely no reliable statistical basis to suggest that diet can cure cancer. In the community of church members are those who sometimes choose to interfere with the treatments being recommended by health professionals. Such self-appointed "experts" may hold a degree in some different field, but without trepidation opine about another person's best course of action. Some go so far as to indicate that a person taking standardized therapy must lack faith. What can one know about another's level of spirituality or faith? No wonder the Lord commands us to "judge not." Does this mean lifestyle measures are useless for treatment? No, but the evidence isn't there. It's not "illogical" to suggest lifestyle might be a good "adjuvant" approach, but not an "alternative."
Many hesitate to undergo all the tests their doctors suggest they take. Indeed, there are doctors who order more tests than are necessary, often from a mind-set of covering every base and protecting themselves against claims of negligence. In situations of cancer, however, exact staging of the disease strongly influences the selection of treatment, so full exploration permits a more appropriate selection.
Finding a Doctor
A question some ask is "How can I find a suitable doctor to treat my cancer?" Experiences recounted online are not always reliable. One rule of thumb is if a primary-care physician is routinely careful, thoughtful, and gives you full attention, you can safely trust that they will use the same concern in finding you a specialist.
Good doctors encourage second opinions. Very often physicians associated with a teaching institution are more knowledgeable, while the doctor running a high-volume practice might be more "technically skilled." Never feel awkward about asking for a second opinion, but keep in mind that it's "bad form" to switch doctors without including the referring physician in the decision. Perfect honesty with your physician will be appreciated, and may actually teach the caregiver about patients' perceptions.
Supporting Someone With Cancer
Perhaps an important area to explore is how to be supportive of that friend, church member, or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. Unsolicited opinions are probably about as welcome as insistence of your favorite color scheme or sofa for your friend's new family room. Unless you are a qualified expert, you would be wise to keep your opinion to yourself; indeed, if you are an expert, your advice will probably be to listen to the patient's own similarly qualified experts.
Support should be given in a general-not a specific-way. Hope is the greatest gift you can give a patient with cancer. Despite dreadful statistics, there are always those who defy the odds. Hope can positively influence outcomes. Hope builds faith, so build the patient's hope and faith.
You want the patient to feel uplifted by your contact, and you transmit support more fully with loving, prayerful interaction rather than prescriptive, dogmatic talk. A hug and a touch often do far more than your favorite lecture on the benefits of pomegranate juice.
When an individual chooses a course of action, especially if it has been based upon expert advice, the wisest course of action for a friend is to affirm such a choice. If you feel compelled to share your "cherished beliefs," do so as an addition, not a replacement, of the chosen therapy. It's often forgotten that the good Lord gave us all freedom of choice. If He is so gracious, shouldn't we be gracious too?
Messengers of Hope
Everyone who contracts cancer or has a family member with cancer is barraged with advice. In the Adventist community there are "guilt trippers," who assert the condition is a direct consequence of some neglected lifestyle imperative, as well as some "extremists," who insist their particular concoction is a "surefire" cure. The advice to all of us would best be to "lay off" of such gratuitous, often ill-founded advice. Be kind,loving, hopeful, reassuring, optimistic, and pleasant. Take the person out for a nice meal or other happy diversion. Pray with them, but don't be too sanctimonious. Rejoice in the gospel message, but don't paint a dark picture of sin and it's effects.
Ask yourself, "How does my interaction buoy this dear soul's spirit?" If you can't make the patient cheerful, at least don't contribute to depression. The gospel is good news, so let's be messengers of hope!
Posted by Richard Lawry at 11:19 AM
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As you get started with your fundraising for Relay For Life, we want to share some simple tips to help. Following these steps will make your Relay experience fun and meaningful and will also help you raise even more to support the fight against cancer.
Tip #1 – Go online
Your friends and family will appreciate the option to make their donations online AND they will likely give more. In fact, last year, the average offline donation was 60 percent less than the average online donation
Tip #2 – Set a goal
Setting a fundraising goal is one of the easiest and most effective ways to motivate yourself and your donors to raise more money. The visible goal and progress meter on your personal fundraising page encourage your donors to help you be successful and also help them to feel part of that success.
Tip #3 – Personalize your page
Why do you Relay? Sharing your story and a photo with your donors results in a stronger personal connection and motivates them to give more. Participants that take the time to customize their personal fundraising page raise more money. A lot more money.
Tip #4 – Get started early
Your Relay event may feel very far away. But, by getting started today, you have more time to raise more money. Relay participants who register early and start fundraising right away typically raise twice the amount of those participants who start closer to their event.
Tip #5 – Pledge yourself!
Put your money where your heart is and show your donors that you have invested in achieving your own goal. Motivate them to give by giving yourself.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:25 PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
For nearly a century, the American Cancer Society has fought for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. By taking what we have learned through research and turning it into what we do, the American Cancer Society has contributed to a 15 percent decrease in the overall cancer death rate between the early 1990s and 2005. That means that about 650,000 cancer deaths have been prevented and created the potential for more birthday celebrations. Overall, 11 million cancer survivors in America will celebrate a birthday this year.
Thanks in part to the generous contributions to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, the Society is saving lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. These are just a few examples of how contributions make a difference in the Society’s lifesaving mission.
Helping people stay well
• The American Cancer Society Quitline®, a telephone counseling service, doubles a person’s chances of quitting tobacco for good.
• The American Cancer Society develops guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to help prevent the disease.
• The American Cancer Society provides tips, tools, and online resources to help people set goals and stay motivated to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Helping people get well
• The American Cancer Society’s phone lines are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, they provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call 1-800-227-2345.
• In addition, the American Cancer Society’s website, cancer.org, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people locate programs and services in their area. Each year, more than 23 million individuals visit this trusted resource.
• The American Cancer Society offers an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers to share stories and find support. Since 2000, more than 93,000 survivors and caregivers have been brought together for comfort and support through the Cancer Survivors Network.
• The American Cancer Society assists cancer patients in need with getting transportation to and from their treatments and offer help with free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers. The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge® has helped more than 30,000 cancer patients and their families save tens of millions of dollars in lodging costs each year by providing a free place to stay and a community of support while they undergo treatment far from home.
• Through its clinical trials matching service, the American Cancer Society connects patients with thousands of different treatment options.
• With sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey.
• The American Cancer Society has had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
• The American Cancer Society is the largest private source of cancer research in the United States, having spent more than $3.4 billion on cancer research since 1946.
• The American Cancer Society spends approximately $130 million each year on cancer research.
• The American Cancer Society funds researchers with cutting-edge ideas, often early in their careers. Of the researchers chosen for Society funding, 46 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest honor in scientific achievement.
• The majority of Americans are now covered by a smoke-free law, thanks in part to the efforts of the American Cancer Society and the nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
• The American Cancer Society helps mobilize communities to fight back against cancer with events such as Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®.
• The American Cancer Society has helped uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up treatment since 1991 and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit cancer.org.
To learn more about Relay For Life, visit RelayForLife.org
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:33 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article published in the January 17, 2013 issue of The Mena Star
After being rained out in December, the Relay For Life Sky Lanterns event was held Tuesday evening outside Rich Mountain Community College. The sky lanterns serve as both a fundraiser for Relay For Life, but also a special opportunity to honor friends, family, and loved ones who have battled cancer.
On the evening, 51 sky lanterns were purchased and launched into the night sky, glowing as they rose and floated out of sight. The evening also served as the 2013 Relay Kick-Off event. The event raised over $1,200 for the Relay For Life Polk County organization.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:32 PM
Thanks in part to the generous contributions to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, the Society is saving lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. These are just a few examples of how your contributions make a difference in the Society’s lifesaving mission.
Helping people stay well
Our telephone counseling service, the American Cancer Society Quitline®, doubles a person’s chances of quitting tobacco for good.
We develop guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to help prevent the disease.
We provide tips, tools, and online resources to help people set goals and stay motivated to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
Helping people get well
Our phone lines are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call us at 1-800-227-2345. In addition, our Web site, cancer.org, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people locate programs and services in their area.
We offer an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers to share stories and find support.
We assist cancer patients in need with getting transportation to and from their treatments and offer help with free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers.
Through our clinical trials matching service, we connect patients with thousands of different treatment options.
With sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, our American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey.
We’ve had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
We’re the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States.
We fund researchers with cutting-edge ideas, often early in their careers. Of the researchers chosen for Society funding, 44 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest honor in scientific achievement.
The majority of Americans are now covered by a smoke-free law, thanks in part to the efforts of the Society and our nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
We help mobilize communities to fight back against cancer with events such as Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®
We have helped uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up treatment since 1991 and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care.
By supporting Relay For Life, you help make the American Cancer Society’s mission possible, and that helps us all move closer to our ultimate goal: a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
For more information about programs and services of the American Cancer Society, please visit www.cancer.org or call 1.800.227.2345 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:20 PM
Annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society shows the death rate from cancer in the US has fallen 20% from its peak in 1991. “Cancer Statistics, 2013,” published in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and its companion piece “Cancer Facts & Figures 2013,” estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the US this year. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world.
A total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the US in 2013. Between 1990/1991 and 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, overall death rates decreased by 24% in men, 16% in women, and 20% overall. This translates to almost 1.2 million deaths from cancer that were avoided.
Death rates continue to decline for lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancers, which are responsible for the most cancer deaths. Since 1991, death rates have decreased by more than 40% for prostate cancer, and by more than 30% for colon cancer, breast cancer in women, and lung cancer in men. The large drop in lung cancer is attributed to reductions in smoking, while the large drop in prostate, colon, and breast, cancer is attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment.
While the rates of new cancer cases are declining for most cancer sites, they are increasing among both men and women for melanoma of the skin, and cancers of the liver and thyroid.
The reports call for applying existing knowledge about fighting cancer across all segments of the population, especially groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket, as a way to speed progress against cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that about one-third of cancer deaths in 2013 will be caused by tobacco use and another one-quarter to one-third will be related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition.
“In 2012, Americans had a 20% lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 2:17 PM
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
With the new year here, this month is filled with people making resolutions, some often too taxing to keep up throughout the year, but all with good intentions of bettering oneself. For a cancer patient, their life may feel too controlled by their diagnosis to make many changes or resolutions. There are many ways for cancer patients to make small, positive changes in their life that can help their health and outlook on their disease and life. Here are five excellent ways for cancer patients to make 2013 a year of positive thoughts and actions!
1. Have a positive view
Everybody has stressors, but if you can do one thing to feel less stressed and more in control, that will help. For example, you can clean up some clutter which will give you a sense of control and help you stay positive.
2. Visualize positivity
Sit down and imagine something positive that could happen to you in 2013. Imagine you are better and it might help you feel better.
3. Choose to do positive activities
Do things that make you feel good and help you stay positive. Add some music to your life. If you listen to uplifting music if can help you feel better. Watch programs that have an uplifting message, whether they are dramas or comedies. Be with friends that make you feel good. Make it a point in 2013 to connect with people who you want to get to know better or spend time with old friends that help you stay positive.
4. Keep moving
Think about one small physical activity you can do to improve your health and that will help improve your outlook on life. A daily walk is a great place to start.
5. Get enough sleep
When people are rested they feel better and have more energy to have a positive outlook on life. Take naps even for just 10 minutes it will help you stay refreshed and relaxed.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 12:59 PM
Friday, January 4, 2013
Do you occasionally have a cigarette, maybe not even every day? Although people resolve to quit smoking in the new year, you might think only heavy smokers need to quit. But that isn't the case.
Light or intermittent smoking has become a very common pattern for people of any age. Many of these people do not feel addicted to tobacco and do not even call themselves "smokers." There are, however, some real risks associated with any level of smoking. Non-daily smoking, or smoking 1-5 cigarettes a day, was first noticed as far back as 1989 because it was a stark contrast to the more common pattern at that time -- 20 to 30 cigarettes a day. At that time, very light smokers were labeled "chippers" (a term that also referred to occasional users of opiates who appeared to not be addicted). Chippers didn't appear to smoke to relieve withdrawal, and sometimes didn't smoke for a day or more.
Number of 'chippers' growing
Since that time, occasional smoking has become a lot more common. The number of U.S. smokers who claim to not smoke every day increased 40% between 1996 and 2001. In fact, half of U.S. smokers claim to be light or intermittent smokers. Some of this is likely due to the increasing restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces, and the stigma of being thought of as a smoker. Having less disposable income might also be a factor that accounts for lighter smoking in some racial/ethnic groups, (and why this pattern of smoking is very common in developing countries).
Young adults and college students in particular engage in light or intermittent smoking. Many of them reject the idea that they could be called a "smoker" because they report smoking only in social settings such as at parties, or only when then experience stressful events or are angry. Some of these smokers may feel a need to smoke when drinking alcohol.
Some light or intermittent smokers, particularly young adults, believe that their lighter smoking does not present health risks. And because they don't see themselves as smokers, they don't intend to "quit."
Even light smoking poses risks
No cigarette is without risk, however. Smoking even as little as 5 days out of the month can lead to more shortness of breath and coughing. What's more, smoking just 1 to 4 cigarettes a day can increase the risk of dying from heart disease and all causes, like cancer. For women, the news is even worse: women's risk of lung cancer from light smoking is greater than men's when compared to never- smokers of both genders.
Other light or intermittent smokers were once heavier daily smokers who have begun to cut down on their smoking on their way to quitting. Cutting down on smoking may make it easier for some smokers to finally kick the habit, and this is probably a worthwhile strategy as long as the smoker can keep the end goal in mind, which is not using tobacco products at all. But smoking 4-5 cigarettes daily can also lead to withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours of abstinence, so some light smokers probably are addicted.
Although we need more research to understand the causes and consequences of light and intermittent smoking, one danger is that this pattern may lead to people gradually smoking more and more, which increases the difficulty of quitting. Given the dangers of any level of smoking, research is also needed to help us understand how best to persuade chippers about the risks of light and intermittent smoking.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help smokers quit that are based on scientific evidence, whatever the level of smoking. These include calling a telephone quitline for support, medications such as Chantix or Zyban, and even online chats and text messages that can give advice and support to smokers when they experience cravings during a quit attempt.
If you smoke - even if it's only a few cigarettes a week - take advantage of these resources and get the help you need to quit.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:29 AM