Us TOO PEORIA
A Chapter of Us TOO International since March 1993
Next meeting: January 25th
Time: Sharing groups at 7pm and speaker at 8pm
Classroom 4&5 (Lower Level) Proctor Professional Bldg.
Speaker: Dr. Tom Rashid
Topic: New Information About Cancer
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Courtney Heiser from the American Cancer Society addressed the group about the different services that ACS presents to our community. Paul and Shirley Killinger volunteer with ACS and shared their experience of meeting with cancer patients weekly.
We are pleased to report that on December 3
rd in Chicago, George Melton received the Edward C. Caps award from Us TOO International. This award is given to an individual for being "an outstanding Leader in an Us TOO support group who has shown unselfish dedicated service to prostate cancer survivors and their families". Congratulations George! We appreciate you for all of your dedication to our local chapter.
Dr. Michael Veeder from Illinois Cancer Care was our speaker on November 17
th. He is always a great presenter and he delivered much needed information again at this meeting. He began by giving an overview of cancer in general and then focused on prostate cancer.
He defined cancer as a genetic disease which can be inherited, but which is usually acquired. Genetics here means that the DNA is damaged by something in our life or environment, not necessarily inherited. We all have 2 copies of DNA and if we are born with an abnormality in one copy and then later on, because of exposure to radiation or life, or whatever, we get a hit in the other copy, cancer occurs. Every cancer is ultimately an abnormality of the DNA.
The body has 40,000 genes and it only takes a couple of cells to become abnormal for a person to develop cancer. He stated that it is rather marvelous that out of 40,000 genes that we don’t have more cancers than we currently do. Not all mutations cause cancer. If that were the case, the human species would have died long ago. The human body is very complex and it is a challenge to find out what path to take in order to treat a particular cancer.
The challenge with cancer is to be able to understand what the abnormality is to the DNA and then prescribing a course of treatment to be able to attack and kill the cancer.
Prostate cancer is no different than any other cancer in that there is a problem with the DNA. Testosterone, somehow, is a major factor in stimulating and causing problems. At some point most prostate cancers learn to grow without testosterone.
Dr. Veeder mentioned the importance of exercise and proper diet as factors that studies have shown can switch a particular gene either off or on depending on what the body needs to keep the cancer from either developing or growing.
He suggested that the focus should be so much more on prevention of cancer than on a cure because of the complexity of determining what the best course of treatment. We know that half of all cancer is brought on by tobacco and another 15% to 20% is from consuming too much sugar, either in our food or drink. We could probably prevent 60% to 70% of cancers today, if we could just convince people of the need to take care of their bodies.