The Edmond Sun

July 13, 2012

Reader: Solutions exist to Oklahoma’s cancer problem

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — To the Editor:

Cancer has touched nearly all of our lives. Most of us have been impacted directly by this terrible disease. Cancer places an extraordinary burden in our state, affecting one of three Oklahomans during our lifetime. However, we can reduce our risk by some doing some pretty simple things:

• Eating right — Obesity is a preventable contributor to cancer incidence and deaths. Oklahoma has one of the highest obesity rates in the country. Eating a healthy diet certainly helps all people, not only the obese.

• Exercise — MedicineNet recommends 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, just three or four times a week. With moderate exertion, we can gain significant health benefits.

• Eliminate all tobacco — The use of tobacco is the most significant cancer risk factor that we can reduce. It is responsible for lung and many other types of cancer. It’s never too late to quit, as your body reaps the benefits of being tobacco-free.

• Be proactive about our own health — Applying sun screen, limiting alcohol intake, and getting annual physicals will help reduce the chances of cancer. The old saying, “an ounce of prevention goes a long way,” really holds true.

• Early diagnosis — The colonoscopy and mammogram are examples in diagnosing cancer early. It is important to have these tests performed regularly to assist in identifying cancer before it spreads.

On the positive side for cancer treatment options, the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center is in our backyard. Oklahomans no longer have to travel far to get great care.

Its mission is to improve and extend the lives of cancer patients through:

• Providing patient-centered, comprehensive care;

• Conducting innovative basic, translational and clinical research;

• Raising the level of cancer awareness and prevention;

• Educating the next generation of cancer health care professionals; and

• Serving as a statewide resource for patients, researchers, health professionals and communities.

In conclusion, we should be proactive about our individual health. If we become diagnosed with cancer, we should know that a “world class” treatment center is near.

Jay Stern


JAY STERN is a cancer awareness advocate.