Awareness key to cancer fight

Published 5:33 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

I have long heard that one out of every two people has had cancer touch their lives in some form; either they’ve had it, someone they love has it or someone they know has.

Think about that statistic for a second. That’s every other person.

I am one of those every other people.

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My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was in high school. He successfully battled it for nearly 20 years before it finally overcame him earlier this year.

My grandfather was lucky. His was discovered during a routine physical. He and my grandmother were about to close on another home and move some 60 miles from where they had built their family for more than 30 years.

He wanted to get a physical to be sure that he was in good enough health that he would be around long enough so as not to saddle my grandmother with a house note in the event of his untimely death.

He was just that kind of guy. Always thinking ahead.

He took his health and his healthcare seriously.

Most people, including me, are not so diligent.

My grandfather, Paw as we used to call him, beat back cancer to well into his 80s. From my perspective, he lived a long and full life and left behind more fond memories than those he left behind can recall.

We owe a lot of those memories to the fact that he worked so hard to keep tabs on his health. That’s a lasting legacy he left with his family and one I’d like to share with you, especially the men.

Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital and the Cancer Center of Demopolis will provide a free prostate cancer screening on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., requires that all parties call 334-287-2647 to schedule an appointment.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and more than 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2011. The good news is that, prostate cancer is treatable with early detection.

The screening process is somewhat unpleasant but well worth the time to ensure it’s caught and treated properly.

You owe it to yourself to take advantage of this opportunity. You especially owe it to your loved ones.

Just by catching it early, Paw prolonged his life fairly significantly. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times.