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Cancer Information Highlights

January 2003


Start the Year off Right: Schedule Your Annual Checkup Today

Source: American Cancer Society, January 2003

More than one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. But there are things you can do to reduce your cancer risk or detect cancer early, in its most treatable phase. Staying on top of cancer prevention and detection can be as simple as seeing your doctor regularly. So why not make it your New Year’s resolution to schedule a checkup now? Depending on your age, here are some basic issues to discuss with your doctor:

Women 20 or older:

  • Have regular clinical breast exams and monthly breast self-exams.

  • Within three years of first having sexual intercourse and no later than age 21, have a standard Pap test every year or a liquid-based Pap test every two years.

Women 40 or older:

  • Have an annual mammogram, along with a clinical breast exam and breast self-exams.

Women and men 50 or older:

  • Begin having tests for colon cancer.

Men 50 or older:

  • Talk with your doctor about being tested for prostate cancer (unless you’re African American or have a family history of the disease – in which case, consider testing earlier).

All adults:

  • Get skin checks annually.

Arming yourself with the facts and discussing them with your doctor can save your life. Your doctor can help you decide on a specific testing schedule for you, based on your own personal risk factors. Your doctor can also talk with you about reducing your risk by quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

For more detailed early detection guidelines and risk reduction strategies, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.



Giving Back: Volunteering Can Help You Feel Like You Are Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

Source: American Cancer Society, January 2003

“I wanted to find a way to give back to my community – instead of just taking from it,” says Esther Fussell, who started volunteering after surviving cancer.

While dealing with breast cancer, Esther benefited from the dedication of volunteers firsthand with a visit from a volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery® program. The volunteer was a breast cancer survivor herself who offered support to others facing the disease by sharing experiences, answering questions, and just listening.

Esther’s experience gave her just the opportunity she was looking for. Shortly after her recovery, Esther volunteered for the same program.

“Meeting with women who have breast cancer doesn’t just help them, it helps me also,” Esther explains. “I’ve never had a visit in 10 years where I haven’t come away a better person. Just by sharing in their experiences I learn so much.”

Like Esther, many people this time of year are thinking about ways to better their lives. Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in your community and reap great personal rewards.

“Volunteering can benefit you just as much as the person you are helping,” says Joy Fincannon, RN, MS, OCN, associate medical editor for the American Cancer Society and a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist. “For example, if you’re feeling stressed, spending time helping others can be a positive diversion from things in your own life. You focus on them instead of yourself, and you gain valuable perspective.”

Volunteering can be fun and even educational, Fincannon adds. You can get involved with something that has always been of interest to you, learn new skills, and develop new talents. It can also give you a feeling of accomplishment – that you have made a difference in someone’s life.

“Volunteering can help you feel like you are part of the solution, not the problem,” Fincannon explains.

If you’re ready to volunteer, evaluate your current lifestyle and think about any restraints you may have or special skills you can offer. How much time can you commit? What do you enjoy doing? Then find a volunteer organization that addresses an issue you’re passionate about. For tips on finding a good opportunity, visit www.volunteermatch.com.

As you ring in the New year, consider volunteering. It just might be the perfect resolution.

Like Esther, chances are you know someone who has been touched by cancer – either through a personal diagnosis or that of a friend or family member. With millions of volunteers in communities across the country, the American Cancer Society is able to provide much needed support and resources to cancer patients and their families. Volunteers select from a variety of areas to find the opportunities that best suit their interests and lifestyles. Here are just a few things you can get involved in:

  • ACS Action Networksm – A grassroots effort to make cancer issues a priority in the hearts and minds of our elected leaders. Volunteers make phone calls, write letters, and visit their legislators to help support important health policies.

  • Tell A Friend® – A program that multiplies with each new volunteer, as trained callers contact five women they know to encourage mammography screening and early breast cancer detection.

  • Hope Lodge® – A home-like environment providing free, temporary living accommodations for cancer patients undergoing treatment and their family members.

  • Reach to Recovery® – Specially trained breast cancer survivors serve as volunteers, responding in person or by phone to the concerns of people facing breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, recurrence, or recovery.

These are just a sample of the programs the American Cancer Society can offer those facing cancer, all thanks to volunteers. For information on opportunities in your area, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. Together, we can make a difference.



Daffodil Days - Hope Blooms

Flowers of Hope Bloom to Reduce Burden of Cancer

Source: American Cancer Society, January 2003

This March, some 3 million freshly cut daffodils from flower fields in Washington State will be delivered to cancer patients across New York and New Jersey as a part of the American Cancer Society’s annual Daffodil Days program.

One of the American Cancer Society’s oldest community events, Daffodil Days relies on hundreds of volunteers to sell Daffodils in their company, school or faith based community organization. Volunteer to pre-sell Daffodils and become a part of the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days volunteer force. To volunteer before the end of February, call 1.800.ACS.2345.

The sale of this spring flower of hope directly supports the life-saving programs of the local American Cancer Society. Every dollar raised from the event goes towards fighting cancer. The American Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Days” program raises funds for:

  • Research - More than $100 million in research grants are given out each year.

  • Education - Cancer prevention guidelines for breast, colorectal and prostate are the standard used by health professionals and lay people alike.

  • Advocacy – American Cancer Society advocates to change public policies to extend insurance coverage of mammograms or to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

  • Patient Services - Numerous community-based support and counseling services to people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Bunches of 10 fresh-cut daffodils are available for $7.00 and vases for $8.00. Also available for a donation of $20 is a “Gift of Hope” - one bunch of fresh daffodils in a vase, which is anonymously delivered to a patient in a health care facility designated by the American Cancer Society.

How you can help spread the message of hope:

  • Become a Volunteer Coordinator - sell daffodils to your friends, coworkers and family raising funds to support the American Cancer Society’s life-saving programs and services.

  • Volunteer to Deliver Flowers – The American Cancer Society needs volunteers to help deliver flowers to designated hospitals during the week of March 24.

  • Buy Daffodils - Find out if there already is a volunteer coordinator in your company. Buy a few bunches of daffodils and help in the fight against cancer. Daffodils will be delivered to you during the week of March 24.

  • Order a “Gift of Hope” - With your “Gift of Hope” donation, Daffodils will anonymously be delivered to a patient in a health-care facility designated by the American Cancer Society.

For more information about Daffodil Days or to volunteer, call the American Cancer Society at 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit www.cancer.org.


Test Your Cancer Knowledge

Source: American Cancer Society, January 2003

Did you resolve to take better care of yourself this year? Find out how much you know about cancer prevention and early detection. Answer true or false to the following statements:

1. Anyone can get cancer, and my risk goes up as I get older.

a. True

b. False

2. One in five cancer deaths are attributable to tobacco use.

a. True

b. False

3. What I eat and how much exercise I get doesn’t affect my cancer risk.

a. True

b. False

4. Both men and women can get colon cancer.

a. True

b. False

5. There are three steps to helping detect breast cancer early: mammogram, clinical breast exam, and breast self-exams.

a. True

b. False

6. All men should discuss prostate cancer testing with their doctors at age 50 and older, or earlier if they have a family history.

a. True

b. False

Answers:

1. True

2. True

3. False – One in three cancer deaths in the US each year is due to nutrition and physical activity factors. Eating a balanced diet with mostly plant-based foods and five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, along with at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week, can lower your cancer risk.

4. True

5. True

6. True

For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org.

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