Health experts stress getting cancer screenings

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CARTERVILLE (WSIL) — A cancer screening could mean the difference between life and death. Rhonda Summers-Ray believes that decision could have potentially saved her husband’s life.

“Cancer is one of those things that if you can catch it early, your chances of survival and having a great quality of life, just significantly increases,”Ray said.

Doctors diagnosed her husband, John, with stage-four colon cancer in 2013. He died in 2016 after undergoing five surgeries and two-years of chemotherapy.

“Nobody wants to end up having a surgery. Nobody wants to get chemotherapy,” Ray said. “If there’s any way that you could prevent that from happening, that would definitely be the thing that you want to do.”

On Friday, members of the American Cancer Society (ACS) held a conference at John A. Logan College to highlight the need for more cancer screenings.

Figures from the National Cancer Institute reveal Franklin County has the third-highest cancer case rate in Illinois, by county, averaging just under 553 cases.

“Southern Illinois… has a significantly higher incidence and mortality rate of certain cancers,” Caleb Nehring, a member of the American Cancer Society, said. “That means they have a lower screening rate.”

The ACS estimates 72,000 new cases of cancer this year, to go along with a predicted 24,000 deaths. Nehring says death tolls from cancer have decreased for nearly three decades thanks to more screenings.

“The death rate over the last 25 years has continued to drop pretty much every year,” Nehring said. “We’re making improvements in the long run.”

Nehring suggests talking to your doctor to get recommendations on the types of cancer screenings you can get. For more information on the types of screenings, click here.

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