|Receiving "Blue Star Awards" from the Kentucky Cancer Program for their exceptional contribution to the community through colon cancer control at the Lake Cumberland Cancer Consortium were: (L-R front) Connie Casada (Lake Cumberland Friends), Charlotte Brewer (American Cancer Society), Susan Wilson (Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital), Debra Armstrong (Kentucky Cancer Program--presenter), Peggy Tiller (Lake Cumberland District Health Department), Edith Lovett (Pulaski County Extension), (L-R second row) Kenny Hill (Lake Cumberland Cancer Treatment Center) and Jeff Brickley (Somerset Community College). Also receiving awards but not shown were Brenda Jobson, MD and staff, Cumberland Gastroenterology (Samir Cook, MD) and Sharon Whitehead.|
|Above: Sharon Whitehead (photo by Magen McCrarey, The Sentinel-Echo)|
The gathering was devoted primarily to the topic of colon cancer, recognizing Kentucky's remarkable reduction of cancer incidence and mortality since 2001 and making plans for future work in the district.
Debra Armstrong, Director for the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP) East, presented "Blue Star Awards" to ten individuals and organizations for their community service in colon cancer screening, outreach and education.
Receiving awards were: American Cancer Society (Charlotte Brewer), Lake Cumberland Friends (Connie Casada), Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (Susan Wilson), Lake Cumberland Cancer Treatment Center (Kenny Hill), Pulaski County Extension (Edith Lovett), Somerset Community College (Jeff Brickley), Lake Cumberland District Health Department (Peggy Tiller), Brenda Jobson, MD (Nancy Lucero), Cumberland Gastroenterology (Samir Cook, MD) and colon cancer survivor Sharon Whitehead, SCC Dean of Arts and Sciences, who has spoken throughout Lake Cumberland about her journey from cancer diagnosis to survivorship.
As a person who ignored the recommendation about colon cancer screening at age 50 and then was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 53, I have become an advocate of early detection and prevention, said Whitehead. While the radiation and chemotherapy treatments I received saved my life, I had to endure months of the negative side effects. I would recommend to anyone who is having colon issues or who has reached the age of 50 that he/she schedule a colonoscopy. Then if any pre-cancerous polyps are discovered, they can be painlessly removed before they become cancer. As a colon cancer survivor, I cannot help but think of those who were diagnosed at the same time as I who did not survive because their cancers were more advanced. To honor their memory, I speak out today to encourage others to go for baseline screening.
Lake Cumberland Cancer Consortium is a group of health, business, community, educational groups, individuals and cancer survivors from the ten county area who collaborate on cancer control activities in their local communities.
For more information or to get involved in the consortium's community based activities, contact any consortium member or Gloria Sams, either by email at: email@example.com or by phone at (606)875-1442.