UNION — In addition to being the day of this year’s Union County Relay For Life event, Friday will also be “Cancer Prevention Day” in the City of Union and the public is being urged to take steps to prevent cancer in themselves and help others avoid the disease.
Since the first local event was held in 1996, Union County Relay For Life has raised $1.7 million for the fight against cancer. The goal of the 2013 Relay For Life fund raising effort is to add at least another $100,000 to that total. On Friday, the 26 teams participating in that effort along with family, friends, and other supporters will gather at the Union County Fairgrounds for the “celebration of life” event which caps each year’s Relay For Life.
While the event will begin Friday evening, the entire day will be Cancer Prevention Day in the City of Union. In a ceremony Tuesday morning, Mayor Harold Thompson signed a proclamation that not only designates Friday as Cancer Prevention Day, but also urges the public to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3.
“My thanks to the American Cancer Society for selecting Union as an enrollment site for this very important study,” Thompson said. “I encourage as many people as possible to take in this event.
“I am extremely proud of the residents who have supported relay for life who in return donate funds for cancer research,” he said. “Yes, today I sign this proclamation proclaiming prevention day but I really feel every day should be cancer prevention day.”
The study is the third in a series of generational studies the society has conducted since the 1950s. Like the preceding studies, it is designed to collect health-related information on participants over a 20-year period. Participants will provide the information through a series of surveys sent them by the society during the study period. The information will then be used by society researchers to determine the factors in the development of cancer and how to prevent it.
In Union County, the society is looking to recruit at least 111 participants for the study. To participate, a person must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and never been diagnosed with cancer. Enrollment for Union County residents will take place at the Union County Fairgrounds from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday during Relay For Life. Persons interested in taking part in the study will complete a short survey, have their waist measured, and give a small sample of blood. After enrollment, the participants will be periodically sent a survey to complete and return to the society.
Tuesday’s ceremony was attended by Union County Relay For Life Chair Beth Lancaster and Co-Chair Torance Inman who reiterated the importance of prevention in fighting cancer.
“The mayor’s proclamation is centered around cancer prevention,” Inman said after the ceremony. “The American Cancer Society has a huge focus on early detection and lifestyle behavior such as eating healthy, exercising, and not smoking in addition to self-examination and regular checkups with your physician. It is believed that all these steps can either prevent cancer or find it early enough to be treated and cured.”
Inman also pointed out that Union County leads South Carolina in the number of prostate cancer deaths which he attributed to a lack of understanding about the importance of early detection.
“Historically, Union County is no different statistically from other counties in the State of South Carolina with the exception of leading the state in prostate cancer deaths,” Inman said. “African-American men are three times more likely to die of prostate cancer than white males. That being said, we took a close look at the demographics of Union County versus the demographics of other counties in South Carolina. It was determined that our African-American population is less than a number of the counties in South Carolina which leads us to believe that the primary issue is education and early detection as opposed to some type of cluster.”
Inman also pointed out that lung cancer now kills more women than breast cancer.
“Lung cancer has replaced breast cancer as the number one killer of women,” Inman said. “This is not to lessen the impact that breast cancer has on women. It is vitally important that women continue to do self-examinations and get their mammograms regularly. It does put heavy emphasis on women to put down cigarettes.”
For more information about Relay For Life contact Union County Relay For Life Chair Beth Lancaster at 864-426-3438 or Co-Chair Torance Inman at 864-426-0883.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.