Cancer Screen Week–Advocacy = Telling Your Story

Hey all!

December 4th through the 8th is “Cancer Screen Week!”

On Monday, I attended Governor Dayton’s press conference at the Minnesota State Capital where he kicked off “Cancer Screen Week.”  I was there with friends and fellow volunteers and staff from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Cancer Society.

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(Left to Right) Raha Assadi-Lamouki, Cory Whiting, Pam Fontem, me–American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteers at the Minnesota State Capital on 12.4.17 for Governor Dayton’s Cancer Screen Week Press Conference (picture by Emily Myatt, ACS CAN Grassroots Manager)

Cancer Screen Week is public health at its finest. Genentech, the American Cancer Society, Stand Up to Cancer, and Rally Health have partnered to dedicate this week to raise awareness of cancer screening and its benefits.  There’s a simple website you can visit to pledge to cancer screening. You just put in your age and gender, and the website emails you information about screenings to discuss with your provider and information about healthy habits.  Below you can see how I took the pledge and a snippet of the email they send once complete.  It literally takes less than 30 seconds to put in your information and receive the email.

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Data from research the American Cancer Society has conducted and funded shows that cancer screening leads to catching certain cancers early, when they are most able to be cured successfully.1

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Governor Dayton sharing history a of how screening caught his prostate cancer at an early stage.

Governor Dayton supports cancer screening, as his prostate cancer was found during an annual physical exam.  He is now living cancer free a year later.  I really appreciate the Governor’s passion for fighting cancer and for taking the time to promote cancer screening and prevention.

We were also fortunate to hear from others who have had cancer detected by screening and from a physician about screening options and guidelines.

My favorite speaker was Veronica Bong.  A routine colonoscopy found her cancer.  Because of her diagnosis, both of her children were screened and pre-cancerous polyps were removed during their colonoscopies.  Cancer screening even prevented cancer in this case!  Something she said during the press conference really resonated with

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Senator Susan Kent shares her story about how cancer screening saved her life. (Left to Right) Veronica Bong, Cancer Survivor; Ellie Beaver, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director; Susan Kent, State Senator; Laura Willson, Physician, Mark Dayton, Minnesota Governor

me–“Colonoscopies are easier than cancer.  I should know.  I’ve had both.”

Senator Susan Kent  spoke of her breast cancer experience.  A mammogram caught her breast cancer early, and she is now cancer free after treatments she said were “easy.”

I also had another fan girl moment over Ellie Beaver (see video below), Minnesota’s Government Relations Director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  She reminded us that we should talk with our provider about the cancer screenings that are appropriate for us.

Something I was reminded of during the press conference was that most cancer screenings are covered by insurance.  So if you’re worried about cost, that shouldn’t deter you from at least having a conversation with your provider about your screening options.  In addition, Ellie pointed out that the Minnesota State Legislature has supported other ways to ensure screenings are available to the uninsured.  For example, the Sage Program  provides breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured women and expands access to health care through Minnesota Care and Medical Assistance.

I ask you to pledge to talk about cancer screens with your provider during this week!  It takes less than 30 seconds by visiting this website.  Use  on social media to share the message of this week and show that you’ve made the pledge!
I also ask you to dip your toes into advocacy in your local community or at the state or national level if you haven’t already done so.  My volunteer friends and I know that the word ADVOCACY can seem intimidating and scary, but it’s not.  Emily Myatt, ACS CAN Grassroots Manager and my friend, says that advocacy is just telling your story.  People like Veronica and Susan shared their experiences to fight for something they believe in.  That’s advocacy!  Everyone has a story.
If you’re interested in learning more about getting involved with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to attend events like this, or even advocacy in general, email me at KaylaRHansen@gmail.com, fill out the contact form below, or direct message me on social media to connect.
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(Left to Right): Sen. Susan Kent, Laura Willson, Veronica Bong, Cory Whiting, Pam Fontem, me, Raha Assadi-Lamouki–Cancer Screening Advocates with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) at the MN State Capital on December 4th, 2017

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kayla

References

  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer Screening Guidelines 2017. Available at https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines.html. Accessed Sept. 19, 2017.
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Author: Kayla

Kayla. Optimistic soul. Happy hearted. Scientist. If I put my mind to something, I can do anything attitude.

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