Cancer awareness and screening topic of March Lunch and Learn Seminar

When it comes to cancer, early detection is key to a successful outcome. Noting that half of all men and nearly one-third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetimes, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH) is holding a lunch and learn seminar on March 19, to focus on early cancer detection by educating attendees on risks and screening schedules. “We hear about it all the time, and likely know of a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with cancer of some type, but we never really hear about people proactively taking steps to determine their own risks,” explained Donna Boatright, administrator of RPMH. “It cannot be underlined enough that early detection is critical and that’s why we’re focusing on the topic at this month’s Lunch and Learn Seminar.” Cancer is a general term for more than 100 diseases. According to the American Cancer Society, all cancers start through the abnormal growth of cells that, if left untreated, can consume your body and cause serious illness or even death. “When talking with your physician about your risks, it is important that you know about your family history with cancer and work out a life-saving screening schedule for the diseases that is most relevant to you,” said Dr. Ellen Walthall, a general surgeon at RPMH and speaker at the seminar. “The sooner we can detect cancer, the better chance it is that we can successfully treat it.” Cancer screening tests are the most effective method of finding cancer before a person develops symptoms. Tests may involve a physical exam, or lab and imaging tests. Screenings are often recommended for individuals with risks of certain cancers, which often include sex, age and family history. Dr. Walthall explained that although screenings and tests can be done for various types of cancers, some types go undetected until symptoms present themselves. “Different cancers can cause various symptoms depending on the type and your physical health,” Dr. Walthall said. “Sometimes an illness might seem as common as a cough or cold, so that is why talking with your primary care physician about your family history with cancer is important.” Mammograms are a common screening method for women, while pap smears and CA 125 blood tests are common for detecting cervical and ovarian cancer. Colonoscopies might be recommended for both men and women over the age of 50 to screen for colon cancer, while men 40 to 50 years of age might ask their doctor about PSA blood tests to screen for prostate cancer. Many cancers are preventable, although lifestyle changes and routine screenings might be effective in significantly reducing your risk. These changes might include weight reduction, limited exposure to the sun, limited alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco and smoking and enriching your nutrition through a healthy diet. The Lunch and Learn Seminar on the cancer detection will be on March 19, at the RPMH Emergency Department classroom. The event will be held from noon until 1 p.m., and includes a brownbag lunch. The seminar is free to attend, but space is limited and expected to reach capacity. Interested individuals must register before March 17, by calling 325-235-1701 ext. 221. A support team will be in place following the seminar until 2 p.m. to help individuals with specific questions and for more information on colorectal and prostate cancer screening kits. Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical services including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiology services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab, physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient education, home health and assistive services, and more. For additional information, please visit