Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

KU doctors provide free cancer screenings

December 19, 2007

Cancer can strike anyone at anytime and one of the best defenses against it is early detection.

That's why on Dec. 8, Masons from Henri Lodge 190 invited medical staff from the Kansas University Cancer Center to perform free cancer screening for anyone.

"It's always important to get screened. The earlier you detect something, the better chances you have of treatment," said Brooke Groneman, director of outreach for the cancer center.

About 36 people braved the icy weather that day to have doctors check for signs of prostate cancer, skin cancer and osteoporosis. The KU staffers also provided take-home kits for colo-rectal cancer and provided information on cancer and how to detect breast and testicular cancer.

This was the first time the Masons have had a free cancer screening in Tonganoxie. Bill Graves, head of Henri Lodge 190, said he was happy with the turnout even though the weather might have kept some people away. He has been working on bringing the program to Tonganoxie for more than a year.

"To stay away from a doctor because you are not going to like what he tells you is a dumb thing to do," Graves said.

This was the third free screening for Eric Schweiger, resident dermatologist for the KU Medical Center. When people visited with him, he told them about the ABCDEs of skin cancer detection: A for asymmetry; B for border; C for color; D for diameter; E for evolving.

"This is a great service to provide to the community," Schweiger said. "At every screening, I've caught at least one person that had skin cancer. It was usually a nonlethal form."

In general, Groneman said, people should begin screening for prostate and colo-rectal cancers when they are in their 50s, but their 40s if there has been any family history of any form cancer. The same applied for checking bone density for the onset of osteoporosis, but people of any age should start looking for signs of skin cancer.

"Skin cancer is affecting people at younger and younger ages," Groneman said.

She also wanted to stress the importance of using sun block and said there was no good tanning.

Melissa Hargrave came with her mother to the cancer screening. During the bone density screening, she found out her bones were less dense than the average woman of her age. Doctors provided her with the information she needed to start increasing her bone density before it was too late.

"It's a good thing to know," Hargrave said. "Now it will definitely be something I will be focusing on."

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