When is it time to go to the doctor?

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A 25-year-old young man who went through college as the MVP shortstop while chewing tobacco on the baseball playing field, suddenly discovers a sore place inside his mouth.

Should he be worried? He’s young and virtually healthy, so what is there to fret about, right? He couldn’t possibly have anything more than a bitten jaw, so he goes about his daily life and chooses to forget about it. Months later, however, he is in a surgery unit facing a disfiguring procedure to remove his bottom lip. He now realizes that he should have had the sore spot examined by a doctor.

Instead of being the handsome new young lawyer in the large firm downtown, he is facing reconstructive surgery and possible chemo and radiation. His beautiful girlfriend, who he had hoped would eventually be his wife and the mother of his children, is by his side hoping this is not the end of the family they had only dreamed of. Could this have been prevented? Certainly!

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It is not unmanly or silly to have suspicious areas or symptoms checked out. How do you know when to go to the doctor? What do you need to look for? What treatments will you need?

These and many more questions will be answered Thursday night at the American Cancer Society Cancer Forum. While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Miss-Lou Relay for Life Committee has, for several years now, recognized and focused on not only breast cancer, but also other cancers during the Cancer Forum each October.

One of this year’s speakers will be Dr. John White, who practices at the Riverpark medical facility. A couple of years ago, Dr. White led our forum with a very interesting and informative slide presentation, which was not only eye-opening, but also self-questioning, especially to those in the crowd who were still smokers.

He held everyone’s attention with his very graphic pictures and stories, and we were all on the edge of our seats. This year promises to hold the same traits.

Along with Dr. White, Kappi Rushing, nurse practitioner with Dr. Frank Guedon, will also mesmerize us with her expertise and advice on matters ranging from cervical cancer to the controversial new vaccine, Gardasil. All mothers who have young daughters will certainly want to be in attendance to hear her views and to ask questions.

We are very excited and honored to have these two speakers. Also, Robert Morris, vice-president of Mississippi for the American Cancer Society, will be on hand to officially throw out a hearty “welcome.”

Dr. Geoff Flattmann, Dr. Roderick Givens and Dr. Jack Rodriguez will be on our distinguished panel of physicians. While these three are not slated to speak, they will be on hand to answer any questions that participants may have for them. We are certainly blessed to have a vast number of excellent physicians practicing in our community.

This forum is open to the public, and we encourage all to attend. While there is a lot of hard work exerted by our Relay for Life teams each year, this is the committee’s way to give back a little to the community for helping our Relay teams achieve their success.

As an added incentive, the Relay team having the most members or representatives present at the forum will receive a special “first.” (Watch for your newsletter)

We have many great door prizes to be given away to lucky participants, and you are sure to find something to whet your appetite in the refreshment line.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. tonight in the Multi-Purpose Room at Co-Lin.

Bring your friends, family and co-workers, and please join us for a fun-filled, informative night.

Don’t be like the athlete at the beginning of the article.

Check it out!

Janis Holder is the chairman, 2009 Miss-Lou Relay for Life.