There is one thing that helps reduce deaths from cancer. That is early detection.
"The one thing I like to do is to not give chemotherapy if I can get away with it," said Dr. Reece Jones, an oncologist at Anderson Cancer Center. "And the way you can do that is to detect the cancer early."
Jones says the fact that early detection can possibly prevent chemotherapy is just one of many benefits.
"Most of the time if you catch it early, it does not reoccur," Jones said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, African Americans and people with low socio-economic status have the highest rates for cancer deaths. This is largely attributed to not getting screened early enough, therefore being diagnosed too late.
"That means that often times that you're dealing with a disease that cannot be cured," said Jones. "It can be treated but it cannot be cured. And often times, these cancers are very aggressive and if they are not caught early they can spread and spread quickly. We're talking about just over the span of a few months times."
According to Dr. Jones, statistics show that a person's odds of survival greatly increase according to how early the cancer is caught.
Because of this he recommends people start getting screened for most types of cancer at the age of 40, or earlier if he or she has a family history of the disease.
"People know their own bodies," said Jones. "If there is something that they know is not quite right, they need to let their physician know and proper screenings need to be undertaken at once."
WTOK news director, John Johnson, is trying to help cancer patients with some of their expenses not covered by insurance. He's running in the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Ala., Dec. 12, to raise money for the Cancer Patient Benevolence Fund. If you would like to support his "Run for Cancer", you may do so through the Community Foundation of East Mississippi. A link is provided below.