Thursday, January 18, 2007

What Would Jesus Do? Get screened!

According to the New York Times, the American Cancer Society reports a drop in cancer deaths two years in a row.

"This second consecutive drop in the number of actual cancer deaths, much steeper than the first, shows last year's historic drop was no fluke," says John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "The hard work towards preventing cancer, catching it early, and making treatment more effective is paying dramatic, lifesaving dividends."

By far the greatest decreases in mortality have been in colorectal cancer — 1,110 fewer deaths in men, 1,094 fewer in women.

What would Jesus do? Get screened!

Dr. Elizabeth Ward, a managing director in epidemiology and surveillance at the cancer society, said the most important factor in the decrease was screening for colorectal cancer, which can detect the disease early when it is most treatable, or even prevent it entirely by finding precancerous polyps, which can be removed before they turn malignant. Progress has been significant even though only about half the adults who should be screened have been. If more people were screened, there would be even steeper declines in death and the incidence of the disease.

The screening methods include stool tests; colonoscopy, which examines the entire large intestine; and sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower part of it.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer at 44. As a suvivor, I cannot stress the importance of early detection enough.

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