Monday, July 1, 2013
As Big Tobacco attempts to clean up its image, now is a good time to remind you of some facts the industry would like you to forget:
Smoking-related health conditions are a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly one of every five deaths annually.
Every year, tobacco use kills more Americans than HIV, drug and alcohol abuse, suicides, murders and car accidents combined.
Secondhand smoke accounts for approximately 50,000 deaths in the United States every year.
If tobacco farmers around the globe were to grow food instead, they could feed more than 70 percent of the world's 28 million malnourished people.
In 2012, cigarette companies spent nearly $27 million lobbying government agencies and members of Congress.
Big Tobacco companies market covertly to teens, despite publicly stating that youth should not smoke.
Each year, the industry spends more than $400 per customer on special promotions, coupons, mailers and other direct marketing efforts to make sure current smokers don't kick their addictions.
Now, companies are pushing expensive and unregulated e-cigarettes. What's more, e-cigarettes are offered in a variety of flavors that young children and teens could find especially appealing, like cherry, grape, vanilla and strawberry.
The health effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown. Medical associations and regulatory bodies are concerned that e-cigarettes are nothing more than a "gateway" to a nicotine addiction.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:29 PM
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Dr. Kris Gast is a board-certified radiation oncologist. She has been in practice for 21 years, the last 13 at Fort Smith Radiation Oncology in Fort Smith. Her column, Cancer Demystified, appears the first Wednesday of every month in the Times Record.
This months column was titled, "Relayers Make Certain Funding Available For Research".
I’ve heard the government has decreased funding for cancer research. What will cancer researchers do? Where will the money come from to find a cure for cancer?
Back in 1946, no funding for cancer research, federal or otherwise, was available. Mary Lasker, an American health activist and philanthropist, was the first person to address this problem and to see research funding as the best way to promote public health. The American Cancer Society Research Program was “born” because of Lasker’s fundraising.
Things we take for granted — things we assume have always been there — are present only because of the American Cancer Society. The extensive list of medical advancements made possible through the ACS is impressive.
Since 1946, the ACS has funded 46 scientists who went on to win the Nobel Prize. The pap test for cervical cancer, chemotherapy for childhood leukemia, the double helix of our genetic material, the link between smoking and cancer, the link between sex hormones and breast and prostate cancer, the idea of combining multiple chemotherapy drugs and the discovery of growth factors have all been discovered by funded researchers of the American Cancer Society.
All of these that we take for granted were funded by money raised by volunteers, and all before 1960.
Since the 1960s, the ACS has continued to be responsible for significant health tools. For example, the ACS can be thanked for the $1 million invested in the 1970s to demonstrate that the mammogram was the best tool to detect breast cancer early.
In 1974, an ACS-funded scientist discovered that the drug Tamoxifen could prevent breast cancer. By 1981, ACS-funded scientists had discovered the technique to sequence DNA, and they developed the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test for prostate screening.
What is the source for the funding of these important past and potential future medical advancements? The American Cancer Society has one staff member for every 400 volunteers. Who are these volunteers? They are you and I.
Every year around the world, volunteers raise money by participating in Relay For Life. Relay For Life is an organized, overnight community fundraising walk where teams of people camp out around a track with members of each team taking turns walking around the track to symbolize the journey cancer patients take.
In addition to raising money for continued research, Relay For Life benefits our local cancer patients by providing gas vouchers for treatment, hosting “look good feel better” programs and providing trained cancer information specialists who can answer questions 24 hours a day, every day of the year, toll-free at (800) 227-2345.
In summary, the American Cancer Society not only uses money raised to fund researchers working tirelessly to find a cure for cancer but also gives back at the local level through their programs.
The best way the community can help in this fight is to participate in their local Relay For life.
Because cancer never rest or sleeps, neither do Relayers.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 4:23 PM
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:37 AM
Friday, February 15, 2013
New research shows that even a single alcoholic drink per day can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer in women.
Though people have long believed that a glass or two of wine can be good for your heart, the new study, conducted in conjunction with researchers in the U.S., Canada, and France, shows that the cancer risks far outweigh any heart-healthy benefits.
"Alcohol has long been known and recognized as a human carcinogen, so even some alcohol consumption raises your risks," Dr. Timothy Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University's School of Public Health and a physician at the Boston University Medical Center who helped design and direct the study, stated. "On the balance of all people who begin drinking, many more people are killed by alcohol than helped by it."
"No public health body or clinical body recommends that people start drinking to improve their health," he added.
The research, published Friday in the American Journal of Public Health, relied on existing data about cancer deaths, alcohol consumption, and risk estimates from other scientific studies. It marks the first time that researchers have examined alcohol-related cancer rates in 30 years.
They found that alcohol could be blamed for about 20,000 cancer deaths each year, or 1 out of every 30 cancer deaths in the United States, which was about what they expected. But while heavy drinkers faced the highest risks, about a third of those deaths were among people who drank only small amounts of alcohol—1.5 alcoholic drinks or fewer per day. And it didn't matter what type of drink was consumed; standard servings of beer (12 ounces), wine (5 ounces), and hard liquor (1.5 ounces) all contain the same amount of alcohol.
While more men die from alcohol-related cancers than women (men do tend to drink more), women have more adverse consequences from drinking, not only because they tend to have less body mass than men, but because they also metabolize alcohol less efficiently. The study found that about 6,000 female breast cancer deaths each year—or 15 percent—could be attributed to alcohol consumption; for men, cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus were the most common types of alcohol-related cancer. Alcohol is also linked to cancer of the liver, colon, and rectum.
The study also eliminated the common misconception that Europeans, especially in France and Germany, are healthier than Americans even though they drink plenty of alcohol. If Europeans are healthier, Naimi said, it's not likely because of their drinking habits: The number of cancer deaths attributable to alcohol in Europe was higher than in the United States.
Researcher acknowledge that people are unlikely to give up alcohol altogether. "In general, drinking less is better than drinking more, and for people who drink excessively it's something to think about," Naimi said. "Alcohol is a big preventable cancer risk factor that has been hiding in plain sight."
Posted by Richard Lawry at 6:34 PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Posted by Richard Lawry at 1:14 PM
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I Fought Fears So My Wife Could Fight Cancer
by Cameron Von St. James
The most terrifying day of my life was November 21, 2005. It was that day that my wife Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, just three months after giving birth to our first and only daughter, Lily. My life was never the same after receiving that news, but in the years that we battled cancer, I learned lessons that will last me a lifetime.
During the first two months of our battle, our lives were utter chaos. I worked, took care of Lily at home, took care of the bills, and cared for Heather as she endured the hell of cancer. It was an emotionally draining time and I cried many nights, fearing that I wasn't doing enough, even though there were times when I knew I was doing too much. There was no choice. If we were going to beat this thing and raise Lily together, we had to do anything we could. Heather's energies were focused on getting well, mine were pulled in every other direction.
Medical bills soon piled up and financial pressures were at an all-time high. We had to travel to Boston for treatments and soon the bills were skyrocketing. For the first time in my life, I accepted financial help from family and friends when they offered it. In this war, anything went. We simply had to take every possible avenue of help that we could if we were going to make it. My strongest advice for any caregiver or cancer patient is to accept every offer of help that comes your way. There is no room for pride in a fight with cancer, and even the smallest offer of help, be it a meal, a shoulder to cry on or a kind word of encouragement, can be a weight lifted off your shoulders and at the very least will remind you that you’re not alone.
I'm so proud of Heather for what she endured during this time and the beautiful person she remained during it. Today, over seven years after her mesothelioma diagnosis she is cancer-free and healthy. Lily has her mother, something that I feared she wouldn't be able to experience.
Two years after Heather’s diagnosis, I returned to school to get my college degree, with the lessons I learned through my family’s fight against cancer. I received my degree in Information Technology and graduated with high honors. I was able to share some of these experiences during my graduation speech, an honor that I readily accepted when it came my way. The lessons I learned during Heather's battle with cancer are the most valuable of my life, and I shared them with my fellow graduates that day, telling them that within each of us is the strength to accomplish impossible things. Heather and Lily were in the audience to cheer me on, and that was the greatest reward of all.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 6:35 AM
Monday, February 4, 2013
As the webmaster of the Relay For Life of Polk County Arkansas Facebook page and blog, I am always looking for interesting and informative material to bring to the readers. Until just a few weeks ago, cryoablation as a cancer treatment was something I had never heard of. The situation that brought about my learning of cryoablation is personal. Today my Mom goes in to the hospital for treatment on her kidney tumor. As you can see from the CT scan capture it is a large tumor. The procedure that the doctors are going to use is cryoablation.
Cryoablation uses hollow needles through which cooled, thermally conductive, fluids are circulated. Cryoprobes are inserted into the tumor. When the probes are in place, the cryogenic freezing unit removes heat ("cools") from the tip of the probe and by extension from the surrounding tissues. The most common application of cryoablation is to ablate solid tumors found in the lung, liver, breast, kidney and prostate.
The concept of cryoablation is relatively new in cancer surgery for any disease. Traditionally, surgeons have treated cancer by literally cutting it out. In contrast to this approach, cryoablation is a different concept in that cold energy is used to destroy the cancerous tissue at the exact site where it exists in the body. Cryoablation is particularly well suited to kidney cancer.
Cryoablation is a very promising new approach to kidney cancer. This kind of new treatment is why I am a strong supporter of cancer research. I have spent the last six years doing all that I can to raise money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. As I was researching this procedure I came across the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Library website. I found these words about Renal Cryoablation that were written in 2008. "Early results have demonstrated that it may offer an alternative for the treatment of renal masses with the advantages of minimal complications, spared renal function, decreased overall costs and equivalent oncologic efficacy. Long-term results are required in order to apply this minimally invasive technique to a broader spectrum of patients". Just five years ago the procedure that will be used on my Mom tomorrow was a brand new technology. It has only been available in Arkansas for two years.
Several large medical centers have produced data demonstrating that kidney cancer is cured in approximately 97 percent of patients who undergo cryoablation with a follow-up of three years. Because it is such a new procedure , 10 year follow-up information on patients having undergone cryoablation is not yet available. Some of the data is showing 98 to 100 percent cure rates.
I know that at Relay For Life events we often hear that we are raising money to find a cure. Cancer is not just one disease, it is many many diseases. Sometimes when we see how many people are affected by cancer and how much misery suffering and sadness it causes it seems hopeless. In my work for the American Cancer Society people often tell me that there will never be a cure because cancer is a big business and the doctors and pharmaceutical companies would suppress a cure if it was found. What a sad way of life it is for these people who have no hope. One of the things that Relay For Life events around the world focus on is providing people with hope. Hope is why we Relay!
I like a statement that the American Cancer Society released recently. "Together with our millions of supporters, we save lives and create more birthdays by helping you stay well, helping you get well, finding cures and fighting back against this disease. Thanks to research funded by the American Cancer Society, many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people their cancer can now be treated effectively". It is way to simplistic to be focusing on a cure. The American Cancer Society is focusing on "cures". The fact that many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured should give us hope. The fact that six years ago when I got involved with Relay For Life the treatment that my Mom will undergo tomorrow would not have been available to her gives me hope. The 97 to 100 percent cure rates that have been seen with renal cryoablation gives me hope. Relay For Life gives me hope.
Posted by Richard Lawry at 8:12 AM
Monday, January 28, 2013
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.
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