Statistics show that Colquitt County ranks high in cancer rates in Georgia. Just why that is so is not known. But there are ways to help reduce these statistics.

Giving up cigarettes is probably the leading piece of advice. We all know now that nicotine released into the lungs causes lung cancer. That’s not to say that it is the only thing that causes lung cancer, but it is one thing that certainly can be impacted by the attitude and habits of the would-be victims.

Also, avoiding second-hand smoke is on that list. Research now shows that consistently be exposed to second-hand smoke is very damaging because much of the smoke inhaled is from the burning end of the cigarette which is unfiltered.

Avoiding fatty foods also is among the precautions.

Then, getting regular checkups is vital to defeating cancer. Particularly, colonoscopies can greatly reduce colon cancer. When polyps are found early, they are removed during the scope before they have the chance to become malignant.

Regular mammograms for women also prove lifesaving. And for men, regular prostate exams are crucial in the battle against cancer.

There are those things that are not in our control. Some of those things often happen. But given that there are those things we can do to increase our chances of not getting cancer or at least discovering it in early treatable stages, we owe it to ourselves and our families to hedge against this disease in its many forms.

On May 14, the local Relay for Life will take place out at Knuck McCrary Park. This annual effort is designed to raise money for research and to raise the public’s awareness of what is being done and what can be done in the battle against cancer.

We urge our community to give this project strong support. And we applaud those who put this annual project together. Many of them are cancer survivors.

In one respect, cancer has become somewhat of a common denominator in the course of human events. We all know someone who has battled this health scourge — family, friends and business associates.

Again, life offers us no guarantees. We may take all the precautions and still get cancer. But, we certainly increase our odds on the side of longevity if we take advantage of research, use common sense and support campaign efforts designed to educate and to eradicate in this health issue venue.

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