Posts Tagged ‘cancer prevention’

Growing Hope Together!

Mary BrookhartI was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 33. A cancer diagnosis always comes as a shock, but it’s particularly unexpected at that age. Because my mother had breast cancer at a young age, a new provider sent me for my base line screening mammogram and that turned out to be my first and only mammogram. I can say without a doubt that a mammogram saved my life.

I was treated here at Winship, by Dr. Toncred Styblo and Dr. David Lawson. Twenty-five years later, all three of us are still here. I came back to Winship six years ago, but not as a patient. I took a job as supervisor of business operations for the Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship, and I am one of the organizers of the Celebration of Living event coming up this Sat., June 21.

That’s why the Celebration of Living event is so near and dear to my heart. This is a chance to get together with other survivors, and discover that part of being a survivor is learning that it’s ok to let fun and humor back into your life. Learn to let the fear go and not let it rule your life. Coming to the Celebration of Living event can be a first step toward getting back out into the world, or it can be a continuation of your on-going journey. We all know that battling cancer has very dark moments, but I hope we can bring some hope and lightness into your life.

So I invite all cancer survivors, their family members and friends to come share this special day. There will be workshops for the mind, body and soul, as well as music, food and companionship. It’s free and open to all. Detailed information is available on our website.

I see more and more people surviving cancer because of new and better treatments and earlier detection. In the time since I got my screening mammogram, the technology has greatly improved. Emory and Winship are now offering state-of-the-art 3D mammograms (also called tomosynthesis) at no additional charge above the cost of standard mammograms, so that all women can benefit from this more precise screening technology. For more information about this new service and where it’s available, check out this video about 3D mammography at Emory Healthcare.

For some, the idea of living a normal lifespan with cancer as a chronic disease is a reality.

My hope is that one day, all cancer patients will enjoy a lifetime of survivorship.

Mary Brookhart,
Cancer Survivor

About Mary Brookhart

Mary Brookhart grew up in Ohio before moving to Georgia to get away from the snow. There she enjoyed a 20+ year career in advertising and design. In 2008, looking for something more rewarding, Mary returned to Winship, this time, not as a patient, but as supervisor of business operations for the Emory Glenn Family Breast Center. Besides serving as an advocate for breast cancer patients, Mary coordinates screenings for mammograms and the Emory’s Breast Cancer Seminar for the Newly Diagnosed breast cancer patient. She currently lives in rural Conyers, with her husband of 37 years, and their three horses.

4 Ways Men Can Lower Their Risk of Cancer

Family ManOne out of every two men in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives. It’s a sobering statistic to consider as we head into Father’s Day weekend. Beyond skin cancer, men are most frequently diagnosed with prostate, lung or colorectal cancer. Those are also the three malignancies responsible for the highest number of deaths in men.

Reducing your risk of cancer is more important than ever. Here are four ways to make an impact today.

  1. If you use any tobacco products, quit now. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than a dozen types of cancer including those involving our lungs, bladder, and mouth. Chewing tobacco and snuff can also cause head and neck, esophageal, stomach or pancreatic cancer. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to help you kick the habit for good. Finding a support group can also make a big difference in whether you succeed.
  2. Cut back on alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking can cause health problems, but did you also know that alcohol can increase your risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, liver and colon? Even worse: drinking and smoking at the same time. It is recommended that men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks a day. In case you were wondering, one drink contains 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
  3. Listen to your wife or partner and get a checkup. Starting at the age of 50, men at average risk for colorectal cancer should have a colonoscopy. If no polyps are found, the test should be repeated every 10 years. Your doctor may recommend a fecal occult blood test at an earlier age. Also at 50, talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of getting a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. If you are considered to be in a high-risk group, your doctor may recommend that you be tested earlier.
  4. Get off the couch and get some exercise. You’ve heard it before, but as a doctor, I can tell you that regular physical activity is one of the best ways to control your weight, reduce stress and lower your risk of cancer. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts.

As you get ready to celebrate Father’s Day, put down that cigarette and beer, get outside and grab a tennis racket, a soccer ball or even a Frisbee. Also don’t forget to wear sunscreen…at least with a SPF of 30! Have a great Father’s Day!!!

About Dr. Curran

Walter Curran, MDWalter J. Curran, Jr., MD was appointed Executive Director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chairman of Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology. He also serves as Group Chairman and Principal Investigator of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), a National Cancer Institute-funded cooperative group, a position he has held since 1997. Curran has been named a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Chair in Cancer Research as well as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.

Dr. Curran has been a principal investigator on over thirty National Cancer Institute-supported grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma and for leading the randomized trial which defined the best therapeutic approach to patients with locally advanced lung cancer. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and is a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE). Dr. Curran is the only radiation oncologist to have ever served as Director of a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center.

Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. According to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Curran ranked among the top ten principal investigators in terms of National Cancer Institute grant awards in 2013, and was first among investigators in Georgia, and first among cancer center directors.

A Heart-Healthy Diet Also Helps Prevent Cancer

Heart Healthy Diet Helps Prevent CancerA good diet is about fueling your body, eating real food and limiting processed foods. Good nutrition plays a crucial role in our well-being by helping maintain a healthy weight, and improving our immune system to prevent disease. In fact, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention are similar to those for preventing other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

What do I mean by “real food”? Although some people have a stricter definition of it, I think a realistic goal is to eat foods that are as close as possible to their natural state, such as whole grains instead of processed white flour. Avoid packaged foods with a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. As a registered dietitian, I recommend eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes like beans. Select a variety of whole foods naturally rich in nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are particularly good to eat as are tomatoes, berries, beets, peppers, apples, squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.

Strive for two thirds of your plate to consist of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. The remaining one third of each plate should consist of lean high-protein foods such as fish, tofu, beans, or lean meats. No single food is the perfect one for cancer prevention, but a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals can offer good protection according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Make better choices when including fat in your diet. Consume monounsaturated fats, avoid saturated and trans fats. Monounsaturated fats (plant based) include olives, olive oil, canola and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids and have an anti-inflammatory and blood thinning effect. Good sources are salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, walnuts and flax.

Avoiding foods that are bad for your heart can also help reduce cancer risk. Stay away from foods that are salted, cured, processed or smoked. Instead, choose lean animal products including chicken, fish, turkey and red meat cuts such as sirloin or loin. Limit refined carbohydrates and sweetened drinks. Both increase chances of being overweight and offer little nutritional value. Most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods rather than salt we add as a seasoning. Read food labels to learn exactly how much sodium is in a product. Everyone should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).

The way in which you prepare your food can also make a difference in your overall health. Baking, broiling, microwaving, and poaching are preferable to grilling, frying, and charbroiling. If you enjoy the flavor of foods off the grill, try baking or broiling them first then put them on the grill briefly before serving.
Fueling your body with real food, limiting processed foods and beverages, and getting regular exercise will go a long way toward preventing cancer and heart disease, the top two causes of death in the United States.

Author: Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LD, Nutrition Specialist, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LDAbout Tiffany Barrett
Tiffany is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and completed a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, her role is to provide nutrition assessments and education for oncology patients and families during and after treatment. Tiffany graduated from Florida State University with Bachelor of Science and completed a dietetic internship at the University of North Florida combined with a Master of Science.

 

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Tackling Cancer on World Cancer Day*

World Cancer DayWe experience the burden of cancer here in Georgia and throughout the U.S., but cancer is not just an American problem. It is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, cancer accounted for 7.6 million deaths (about 13% of all deaths) in 2008 and that number is projected to rise to 13.1 million deaths in 2030.

Every day, my Winship colleagues and I seek to identify better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure cancer. Fortunately, we do not work in isolation. Our efforts are part of a global collaborative of cancer researchers and doctors, and one of the most rewarding aspects of this work is joining forces with scientists from all over the world who are committed to a shared goal of ending cancer.

Imagine a global community of scientists in continual conversation about the most up-to-date mindset for treating cancer. We are a vital part of that conversation.

I made two international trips late last year which captured the spirit of collaboration in cancer research. One trip was to Australia, stopping first at the World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney, and then on to Brisbane, where a unique partnership called the Queensland Emory Development Alliance (QED) is bringing together outstanding researchers from Emory, The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), to collaborate on new research projects primarily in the realm of cancer and infectious disease.

Several Winship faculty including William Dynan and Dennis Liotta are currently collaborating on cancer research projects with new colleagues at UQ and QIMR. My visit to Brisbane has resulted in early work towards furthering these and other collaborations. The World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney highlighted a number of important findings in our struggle against the leading cancer killer resulting from work conducted among my colleagues in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

In December, I flew to Chengdu, China, as a guest of the Chinese Society of Radiation Oncology (CSTRO) to deliver the keynote address at the annual CSTRO Symposium. As evidenced in this conference and in my subsequent visits to large cancer centers in Bejing and Jinan, there have been remarkable advances in cancer research and cancer care in China. There is also a tremendous level of collaboration between investigators at major Chinese universities and faculty at Winship and other major American cancer centers. Currently my colleagues and I are working each week on a clinical trial underway at eight Chinese cancer centers, comparing stereotactic radiation to surgery for patients with early stage lung cancer. I had a chance to meet with all of my colleagues conducting this research in China during my visit there and to celebrate this progress!

I’m extremely proud of the work performed here at Winship that contributes to advancing cancer research throughout the world. International conferences, as well as the many times we host scientists from other countries here on the Emory campus, enable us to share information and resources and benchmark our own contributions. But it’s when I return to Winship and see patients who are benefiting from discoveries made by my colleagues here and elsewhere, the value of collaboration truly hits home.

Seeing even one patient improve from the advances we make in cancer research and treatment is a reward worth sharing with the world.

*February 4th is World Cancer Day, when international health organizations support the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in promoting ways to ease the global burden of cancer. This year’s theme, “Debunk the myths,” focuses on improving general knowledge about cancer in order to reduce stigma and dispel misconceptions about the disease. More information: http://www.worldcancerday.org

Author: Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director, Winship Cancer Institute

About Dr. Walter Curran
Walter J. Curran Jr., MDWalter J. Curran, M.D. was appointed Executive Director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chairman of Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology. He also serves as Group Chairman and Principal Investigator of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), a National Cancer Institute-funded cooperative group, a position he has held since 1997. Curran has been named a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Chair in Cancer Research as well as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.

Dr. Curran has been a principal investigator on over thirty National Cancer Institute-supported grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma and for leading the randomized trial which defined the best therapeutic approach to patients with locally advanced lung cancer. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and is a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE). Dr. Curran is the only radiation oncologist to have ever served as Director of a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center.

Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. According to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Curran ranked among the top ten principal investigators in terms of National Cancer Institute grant awards in 2013, and was first among investigators in Georgia, and first among cancer center directors.

6 Ways to Reduce your Risk of Cancer in the New Year

Walter J. Curran Jr., MD

It’s that time of year when we resolve to start fresh and break old habits, but did you know that some of the most common New Year’s resolutions could also help reduce your risk of cancer? Nearly 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and many cases could be prevented by taking steps to decrease risk.

Here are six ways to cut your chances of developing cancer:

  1. Stop smoking or never start: cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and many other cancers. Doctors recommend you stay away from all tobacco products and byproducts, including second hand smoke. Winship Cancer Institute is offering a step-by-step program developed by the American Lung Association to help you quit. To register, click here.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink: obesity is increasingly proven to be a major risk factor for certain cancers. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit red and processed meat consumption. Cut down on alcohol consumption; experts recommend no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  3. Get physical: an active lifestyle is critical for your overall health and well-being, but studies show regular exercise can reduce the risk of a variety of cancers.
  4. Practice sun safety: protect yourself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Tanning beds and sunlamps are also associated with increased risk of skin cancer, so stay away.
  5. Get screened: early detection of certain cancers can make a difference in treatment and recovery. Women at average risk for breast cancer should have a clinical breast exam and mammogram every year starting at age 40. Cervical cancer screening is now recommended every five years for women at average risk between the ages of 30 and 65. Men and women 50 and older should begin screening for colorectal cancer with a colonoscopy or other early detection method approved by a physician.
  6. Know your family history: some cancers run in families, but before you ask for genetic testing, it’s important to know that most cancers are not linked to genes inherited from our parents. Your doctor can help you determine the right course of action.

When it comes to your health, being proactive about reducing cancer risk will help you not just in the New Year but for the rest of your life. What are some ways that you’ve resolved to get healthy this year?

By Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director, Winship Cancer Institute

About Dr. Walter Curran
Walter J. Curran, Jr. was appointed Executive Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in September 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology and Chief Medical Officer of the Winship Cancer Institute.

Dr. Curran, who is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar, has been a principal investigator on several National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Ga CORE). Dr. Curran is the only individual currently serving as director of an NCI-designated cancer center and as group chairman of an NCI-supported cancer cooperative group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. In 2006, he was named the leading radiation oncologist/cancer researcher in a peer survey by the journal Medical Imaging. Under Dr. Curran’s leadership Emory’s Radiation Oncology Department has been recently selected as a “Top Five Radiation Therapy Centers to Watch in 2009” by Imaging Technology News. Dr. Curran ranked among the top 10 principal investigators in terms of overall NCI funding in 2010 and among the top 20 principal investigators in overall NIH funding in 2010.

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Cigarette Smoking Linked to 30% of All Cancers

Help Your Loved Ones Quit SmokingSmoking has long been linked to lung cancer, and most Americans have heeded the warnings that smoking causes lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is a direct cause of 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% of lung cancer deaths in men.

But a fact that many don’t know is that cigarette smoke is also a contributor to 30% of all cancers. How could it be that cigarette smoke gets into organs other than the lungs? As it turns out, the actual smoke does not, but the carcinogens in tobacco smoke do get into your blood stream and thus into other parts of your body.

Some of the cancers linked to smoking are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and 69 of these are known to be causes of cancer. (carcinogenic).  These carcinogens damage genes that allow cell growth.  When damaged, these cells grow abnormally or reproduce more rapidly than do normal cells.

Secondhand smoke is also bad,  causing 49,000 deaths each year.  Secondhand-smoke exposure also has been found to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, particularly in children.

While smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, there is hope for smokers. Much of the damage to your body caused by smoking can be undone over time. Also, there are many successful programs to help you quit.

The best way to prevent smoking-related cancers is to never smoke, but by quitting at any time, you lower your risks of developing a smoking -related cancer.

Smoking Cessation Resources:

For information on smoking cessation, visit:

The Georgia Quit Line provides free counseling, a resource library, support and referral services for tobacco users ages 13 and older. Callers have the opportunity to speak with health care professionals who develop a unique plan for each individual.

About Joan Giblin, NP

Joan Giblin, Winship Cancer Institute

Joan Giblin, NP has a total of 43 years of nursing experience, 25 as a family nurse practitioner and 16 as an oncology nurse practitioner, where she is actively involved in patient care and clinical trials.

In 2011, Ms. Giblin assumed a new role as the director of the Winship Survivorship Program with primary responsibilities for developing the program as a resource for patients and a means to facilitate continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors. Prior to this, she was the director of the Winship Call Center, the first point of contact for new cancer patients, and was instrumental in establishing protocols and procedures to streamline access to care at Winship.

Giblin’s experience as an oncology nurse practitioner gives her insightful perspective on the needs of cancer patients and cancer survivors. As a clinical nurse practitioner, she was part of the aerodigestive team, specializing in the care of patients with head and neck, lung and throat cancers.

Giblin’s current research is in the area of survivorship related to long-term and late effects of cancer treatment and adherence to follow-up care.

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Find Out the Best Medicine for Melanoma

Thank you for joining us for the live online chat on the topic of Skin Cancer and Melanoma on May 28. We had excellent questions on skin cancer and melanoma. The key takeaway from the chat is that prevention is the best medicine for skin cancer and melanoma. Once you are burned the damage is already done to your skin.  So remember to wear your sunscreen (SPF of 30 or greater), wear hats and protective clothing and avoid the sun in the heat of the day (10am – 2pm). Take action now to avoid detrimental long term effects from the sun.You can read a full transcript of the Skin Cancer and Melanoma chat here.

33% of All U.S. Cancer Deaths Linked to Diet & Exercise

Nutrition to Fight CancerStudies consistently show that a good diet and regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, but did you know you can also reduce your risk of cancer by eating well and regularly exercising? Our genes play a large role in whether we develop cancer (some cancer types more than others), but studies show, and our experts at the Winship Cancer Institute confirm, we can take action to lower our risk of developing many cancer types. By avoiding tobacco products, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and staying active, you can dramatically reduce your risk of dying from cancer.

I hosted an online chat on the topic of healthy eating during the holidays this week, and in it we covered lots of topics related to nutrition, health, exercise and wellness. Below are some of the most important takeaways from the chat for you to apply not just during the holidays, but year round!

Exercise: 

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We may tire of hearing it, but maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to your health.
  • As many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths are linked to excessive body weight. Obesity is clearly linked with increase in several types of cancer, including breast, colon and rectum, edometrial, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancer.
  • Regular physical activity is critical to your health and wellness. Physical activity can help reduce the risk of breast, colon, endometrial and prostate cancers.
  • Adults should try to exercise for either 75 minutes per week at high intensity, or at least 150 minutes at moderate intensity each week. The latter equates to just two and a half hours of walking.
  • Children should exercise one hour each day at moderate intensity, but 3 days a week at high intensity, and limit sedentary activities such as sitting, lying down, playing video games, watching TV, etc.

Nutrition:

Maintain healthy eating habits by emphasizing consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. As I mentioned in the chat, all fruits and vegetables have protective and preventive cancer benefits. Here are some guidelines to consider when it comes to nutrition:

  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Choose whole grains as opposed to refined grain products (such as white rice).
  • Limit red meat and processed meat.
  • If you can’t get fresh produce, opt for frozen fruits and veggies over those in a can. Frozen produce is typically less processed and contains less sodium.
  • If you’re looking for protein options other than meat, try beans, nuts, soy, eggs, yogurt, cheese, milk, and whole grains such as barley and quinoa.

Lifestyle:

Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a known risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.

  • Women should limit themselves to one drink a day.
  • Men should limit consumption to 2 drinks per day.

For more from our chat, you can view the chat transcript here. Although we can not totally prevent cancer, we have the ability to reduce our own risk by taking action. Winship wants to help you win the fight against cancer by arming you with as much knowledge as possible! If you have additional thoughts, questions, or tips to share, please do so using the comments below.

Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LDAbout Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LD

Tiffany Barrett provides personalized nutritional advice to Emory Winship patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. Ms. Barrett also consults with patients who have completed treatment and wish to continue to build a strong and healthy diet. She earned her Bachelor of Science at Florida State University and a Master of Science at University of North Florida. Tiffany is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and completed a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.

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On November 15 – Commit to Quit

Great American Smokeout - Quit Smoking November 15You’ve heard the health tips a million times: exercise regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and limit alcohol consumption. And the most frequently recommended tip to improve overall health and prevent disease? Don’t smoke.

Tobacco use continues to hold the top seat as the single greatest preventable cause of disease and premature death in America. It’s evidence like that which prompts Emory Healthcare, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, and the American Cancer Society to take action towards improving awareness around the importance of quitting smoking for the 45 million Americans who still smoke cigarettes and the 15 million Americans who smoke cigars or pipes.

Each year, the American Cancer Society hosts its Great American Smokeout event to create a way to encourage current smokers to set a date, as a group, to quit. This year’s Great American Smokeout takes place on November 15, 2012, and we want to encourage those members of our community who smoke or use tobacco products to take an important step in owning their health by joining others who will choose to make November 15 their quit date.

Quitting is not easy and there’s no single approach that works for everyone, but there is help. If you are trying to quit smoking, know that you have the support of the Emory community and hundreds of individuals like you who have been through it. Carla Berg, PhD, assistant professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and an expert on smoking behaviors, says most people make multiple attempts to quit before being successful, “but every time you try, you’re one step closer to actually quitting. And if you quit by age 30, research shows you’ll have the same life expectancy as someone who’s never smoked.”

And no matter what your age, your health improves every day you’re not smoking. It’s never too late to quit.

When it comes to tobacco-use, there are no hypotheticals. Smoking cigarettes causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke. As an academic medical center, we are constantly searching for treatments and cures for disease, and we are just as passionately committed to disease prevention. To that end, Emory has implemented our own tobacco-free policy to promote and support the health of our patients, families, staff and community. As of September 1, 2012, the Emory family—including the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Emory Healthcare—is a tobacco-free organization.

We ask that on November 15, 2012, you join us. We ask that you commit to quitting; commit to your health; commit to a better life.

If you have suggestions to share with our readers that have helped you or a loved one quit, please share them in the comments below. For more information and support resources related to quitting and the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

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The Winship Win the Fight 5K – Why Did We Run?

For loved ones, the future, survival, or for camaraderie—these are just a few of the reasons over 2,900 participants chose to participate in the 2nd annual Winship Win the Fight 5K run this past Saturday, October 13, 2012. With perfect weather and a motivated crowd at McDonough Park in Atlanta, it could not have been a better day for participants to join the fun in support of the fight against cancer. Those in attendance agreed, you could feel the energy in the air of the motivated participants who’s individual answers to the thematic question of the race, “Why do I run?” may have been very different, but together, were all moving forward in support of the health of cancer patients and survivors alike.

The Winship Win the Fight 5K supports advances in cancer research, treatment, and patient care at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  Winship is Georgia’s only National Center Institute-Designated Cancer Center.

This year, a running total of $375,000 was raised, but the fight’s not over! If you would like to join the 2,900 supporters who ran for a cause last Saturday, you can still donate today. Let’s make that number grow and play our own role in helping others win the fight against cancer.

You can check out some shots from this year’s Winship 5K race at McDonough Park below, and if you were there with us, tell us in the comments below why you decided to run and what you enjoyed most about the event!

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