A panel discussion Sept. 21 that addresses below-the-belt cancers in men will emphasize the life-saving potential of detection and treatment of cancer at an early age or in the early stages of the disease.The free forum, scheduled at the Durango Public Library, is sponsored by the Man to Man Prostate Cancer Survivors Support Group. September is pros-tate cancer awareness month, but the panelists also will address colorectal cancer, which affects women as well as men.
On the panel will be:
"I was preparing for the Pikes Peak Marathon last year because I'd checked the times and figured I could finish among the first five in my age group," Duresky, 61, said. "When I learned July 3 that I had prostate cancer, I was stunned. It was hard to believe because I'd always been healthy."
Duresky's doctor told him that, statistically, he had 22 years of life ahead of him. If the cancer spread outside the prostate - which, he learned later, it was on the verge of doing - he could expect to live five to seven more years, the doctor said.
"Mentally, I wasn't equipped to wait to see if the cancer spread," Duresky said. "I did my research and had surgery Aug. 11."
He hasn't looked back.
"I made a decision, I live with it, and I'd do it again. I accept life as it is," Duresky said.
Regular health checks are paramount to detecting prostate cancer early, Burpee said. Early detection has reduced the number of deaths from prostate cancer, he said.
Dionisio will explain the origin of colorectal cancer - polyps (growths) on the lining of the colon that potentially can be cancerous.
A colonoscopy, the examination of the entire colon for polyps with a camera mounted on a flexible tube, is as close to a gold standard as there is for detecting cancer, Dionisio said.
She also will provide statistics about colorectal cancer in the United States.
Cathcart will explain the financial implications of not getting screened for colorectal cancer and waiting for the symptoms that ultimately send patients to her.
"It's like waiting for your vehicle engine to burn up before you get an oil change," Cathcart said. "I hear excuses such as 'I don't have any symptoms' or 'It's too expensive.' Believe me, the expense pales in comparison to surgery or chemotherapy for colon cancer."
A final friendly suggestion: Get yourself checked, man.