American Cancer Society Encourages Men to Get the Facts About Cancer

This Father’s Day, the American Cancer Society reminds men of the importance of cancer awareness. Colon, lung, and skin cancers can be prevented, and men should be informed of the risks related to prostate cancer screening.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men. Smoking is the cause of more than 80 percent of all lung cancers and more than 30 percent of all cancers. The health benefits of quitting are immediate, even for long-term smokers.

Colon cancer is the third most deadly cancer for men, and it is highly preventable through screening where pre-cancerous polyps can be removed before becoming cancerous. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women age 50 and older be screened for colon cancer. While colon cancer deaths have been decreasing over the past two decades due to increased screening rates, still about 50 percent of people over the age of 50 do not seek screening.

Skin cancers are the most commonly diagnosed cancer. While most skin cancers are easily treated, melanoma can be serious. Sun exposure is a factor in most skin cancers and men are encouraged to avoid damage to the skin such as tanning and sunburns. Many of the more than two million skin cancers that are diagnosed every year could be prevented by protecting the skin from intense sun exposure and by avoiding indoor tanning.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (besides skin cancer) and most occurs in men over the age of 65. Having one or more close relatives with prostate cancer increases a man’s risk of having it. For reasons still unknown, African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Because most prostate cancers are slow-growing and the treatment for the disease can be risky, the American Cancer Society recommends that men age 50 and older make an informed decision with their doctor about whether or not to be tested for the disease. African-American men, or men with a family history of prostate cancer, should receive this information at age 45. Men should not be tested without learning about the risks associated with testing and treatment.

This Father’s Day, the American Cancer Society encourages men to get the facts about cancer. Call 1-800-227-2345 for more information or find us on the web at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/MensHealth/index

The Butterfly Effect, by Michelle Shkolnick

For a long time, I continued my subscription to Newsweek magazine just because of one column written by a man with the gift of taking common and not-so-common happenings and turning them into great life lessons. I have never forgotten one particular issue in which the columnist wrote about “the butterfly effect.” At its core, the butterfly effect has to do with chaos theory and “is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place can result in large differences to a later state.” Simply put, the butterfly effect suggests that a butterfly flapping its wings could cause a tiny breeze that might ultimately change the course of a tornado or a hurricane on another continent.

Think about that…

Just one little butterfly flapping its wings…a small change in one corner of the world impacting weather patterns in another.

As we move full throttle into Relay season in Nebraska, I am reminded of how Relay started…one little butterfly flapping his wings.

The first Relay For Life in Tacoma, Washington, 1985. Dr. Gordon Klatt in center.

In 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, wanted to show support for his patients and raise money for his local American Cancer Society office. He walked and ran around a track in Tacoma, WA for more than 83 miles over a 24-hour period. He had over 300 folks come out and show their support. Friends paid $25 to walk/run with Dr. Klatt that night, and as a result, he raised over $27,000. The following year, 19 teams took part and they raised $33,000.

Relay For Life was born…because Dr. Klatt flapped his wings.

 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2001. After my mastectomy, I underwent eight rounds of two different kinds of chemotherapy. This was followed by seven weeks of radiation, which was followed by five years of Tamoxifen, which was followed by five more years of Femara. Because of the precision of my treatment (and perhaps the flap of a butterfly’s wings somewhere in Moscow), I celebrated 11 years cancer free in March.

 My first Relay was the result of a “wing-flap” by my chemo nurses. About half way through my eight round protocol, one of them invited me out to this “neat little thing” they called Relay For Life that was happening the following day. I joined them on the track that warm night in June and my life has never been the same. The butterfly effect is rooted in the notion that small events can have large, widespread impacts. That one little wing-flap…the invitation to come out that night…has changed the course of my life forever.

 Think about this…

Dr. Gordy Klatt

…seemingly small things with large impacts…

Never doubt the difference WE are making in the fight against cancer. Since inception, Relay For Life has grown from one man walking a track in Tacoma, Washington to over 5,200 communities in the United States and over 20 countries across the globe. Relay has raised over $4.5 BILLION to fight cancer through research, education, advocacy and services. As a result, cancer death rates have decreased by 23% in men and 15% in women since the early 1990’s. In the last two decades, this means that more than a MILLION cancer deaths have been avoided and today, there are over 12 MILLION survivors…one of whom might be standing next to you in the grocery store check-out line or sitting next to you at your kid’s piano recital.

 …not bad for one little butterfly, on a track in Tacoma, Washington 27 years ago…

 …and not bad for all of us flapping our wings hoping to change the course of cancer in every corner of the world.

 Personal note: Earlier this year, Dr. Klatt was diagnosed with stomach cancer. As he wages a very personal battle with cancer, please keep our butterfly in your thoughts and prayers.

by Michelle Shkolnick – 2012 Hero of Hope

This is the third post of Michelle Shkolnick’s  series as a contributor for the ACSNebraska.org site.  Shkolnick, who is an American Cancer Society Relay For Life Hero of Hope in 2012 will share her captivating writing ability with ACSNebraska readers every other week in May and June.  She will talk about her cancer journey, the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life, survivorship and the people she’s met along the way.  Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and began Relaying in Omaha that summer.  This year, she travels across Nebraska talking to fellow Relayers and inspiring people to help the American Cancer Society make a difference by saving lives.  Please check back with ACSNebraska.org or subscribe to the site because you won’t want to miss a word of Michelle’s stories.  Her next story is scheduled to be posted on Tuesday, June 19.

Omaha’s Inaugural Hope in the Heartland Gala to Benefit American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is excited to announce that its inaugural Hope in the Heartland Gala will take place on Friday, July 27, 2012 at Stinson Park in Omaha’s historic Aksarben area.  Guests will have the opportunity to experience and celebrate the history of Stinson Park at Aksarben Village with a night at the races.  The metro area’s community leaders can wear their best derby attire, hats are welcomed, sip on a mint julep, play fun midway games, and enjoy great entertainment to help make a difference in the lives of those facing a cancer diagnosis here in Omaha.

“We in the Omaha community have the unique opportunity to help the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer through support and involvement with the Hope in the Heartland Gala,” commented Bryan Slone, event chair for the 2012 gala.  “Come enjoy fabulous cuisine, great entertainment, fun midway games, live and silent auctions, and more, while we support our local chapter of the American Cancer Society and help them impact patients here in our community.” 

“Hope in the Heartland is truly about the Omaha community coming together to achieve one goal, the day when no one has to hear the words “You have cancer,” says Slone.  The programs and services the ACS provides to the community are vital to helping us celebrate a world with more birthdays.”

Doors will open at 6:30 pm for this one-of-a-kind event that will feature simulcast horse racing, a wine tasting, a horseshoe of roses and so much more.  A silent auction will begin the evening with a live auction starting at 8:30 pm. Guests will then be able to dance the night away with entertainment by local band, Finest Hour. 

The Hope in the Heartland Committee would like to thank our major sponsors thus far for making this fun-filled event possible: Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center, Travel & Transport, Union Pacific, CS & Marilyn Johnson, Bryan & Leslie Slone, Omaha World Herald, Bank of the West, ConAgra Foods & ConAgra Foods Foundation, Deloitte, First National Bank of Omaha, HDR, Inc., T.D. Ameritrade, Wells Fargo Bank, and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

Tickets for the 2012 Hope in the Heartland Gala are $150 per person or $2,500 per table and can be purchased online at www.hopeintheheartlandomaha.org.  For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 402-393-0764.

For more information about the Hope in the Heartland Gala and other American Cancer Society programs, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.hopeintheheartlandomaha.org or www.cancer.org.