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Cancer screenings, early detection save lives

November 20, 2019 posted by Vidant Health News

Highlighting Your Health is an educational segment courtesy of Vidant Health that appears twice a month in The Daily Reflector. Vidant is a mission-driven, 1,708-bed health system that annually serves a region of more than 1.4 million people in 29 eastern North Carolina counties. As a major resource for health services and education, Vidant’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.

Like most things, cancer often starts small.

It might be a lump somewhere on your body or an unusual mole on your skin. It might even be a tiny blip on a 3-D mammography image.

Whatever it is, identifying the signs and symptoms, monitoring them, and consulting a medical provider can find cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat.

“When it comes to preventing cancer and finding it early, knowledge truly is power,” said Nikki Hyatt, RN, outreach coordinator for Vidant Cancer Care. “Knowing what cancer looks and feels like and knowing where to turn for help can be life-saving information, especially for those who are at-risk.”

5dd42a21c872b-image450-(1).jpgCancer is the leading cause of death in North Carolina. According to the Center for Disease Control, one of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer. Those statistics are staggering and scary but knowing the signs can help get patients on a quicker road to recovery.

But while cancer diagnoses continue to rise, survival rates are at an all-time high, with nearly 14.5 million cancer survivors in the country in 2014, according to the National Cancer Institute. Enhanced technology, increased awareness and easily-accessible screenings have helped in this regard.

Vidant Health, as well as other health care and public agencies, have placed increased emphasis on cancer screenings and education in the community. Vidant hosts free screening events throughout the region, including its upcoming Power Up event on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5-8 p.m. at the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Tower at Vidant Medical Center.

“Our ultimate goal is a life without cancer,” said Hyatt. “Until there is a cure, the best thing that we can do is teach people about the importance of awareness, which can lead to finding cancer earlier and lifestyle changes that can help prevent cancer from developing in the first place. That’s why events like Power Up, as well as other free screenings, are so important.”

The question of who should get screened differs depending on family history, lifestyle behavior and the different types of cancer. A primary care provider can offer insight into an individual need for screenings based off of these factors.

In short, Hyatt says that anyone with a family history of cancer or who engages in adverse lifestyle behaviors like alcohol or tobacco use, or is overweight, is considered at-risk for cancer and should seek resources and screening opportunities.

“Unfortunately, cancer happens,” Hyatt said. “But we know that early detection saves lives.”

To learn more about cancer prevention, early detection and other resources, visit our Power Up event on Thursday or visit VidantHealth.com/PowerUp.

Need to know:  

  1. Lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and other habits can affect your overall health and your risk for developing cancer
  2. Screenings can be used to find cancer in people who may not even have symptoms.
  3. Early detection is important because cancer can be easier to treat when found early.
  4. Vidant Medical Center’s free Power Up event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5-8 p.m. at the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Tower at Vidant Medical Center. There will be snacks, giveaways and screenings.
  5. To register for screening opportunities at Power Up, visit VidantHealth.com/PowerUp.

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