M. D. Anderson Colorectal Patient Spreads Educational Message
Annual run highlights the importance of getting screened, supports those touched by the diseaseM. D. Anderson News 02/16/09
As a colorectal cancer survivor and mother of five, Sandra Hinze encourages others to discuss the disease with their physician, educate their family and friends, and register for M. D Anderson's Sprint for Colorectal Oncology Prevention and Education (S.C.O.P.E.) run. The fourth annual S.C.O.P.E. Fun Run is Saturday, March 28.
Before her cancer diagnosis, Hinze, a resident of Santa Fe, Texas and patient at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, always considered herself to be healthy. She led a physically active life and rarely found the need to go to the doctor. Since being diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer in 2006, however, her point of view on maintaining a healthy lifestyle has changed.
"When I turned 50, which is the recommended age for women and men to receive their first colorectal cancer screening, my doctor and I didn't discuss the need for a colonoscopy," Hinze said. "I was diagnosed with colon cancer at 64, and I had never been screened. Now, I'm more aware of the educational messages that patients should heed. I advise my family and friends to get colonoscopies and, if needed, to initiate the conversation with their doctor."
With this new attentiveness, Hinze shares the same perspective on preventing the disease as her oncologist, Cathy Eng, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson.
"Everyone should eat healthy, exercise moderately and practice proper screening guidelines - have a colonoscopy by age 50, and then again once every 5-10 years if appropriate," Eng said. "A colonoscopy should be a part of one's standard of care. About 85 percent of colorectal cancer cases are sporadic and not attributable to hereditary risk factors. Because this disease can affect anyone, regardless of health or family history, having a colonoscopy by age 50 is essential."
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women, as well as the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women combined. According to the American Cancer Society, it's estimated that nearly 149,000 people were diagnosed with this disease and more than 49,000 died from one of the most preventable cancers in 2008.
In addition to educating others, Hinze has dedicated the last Saturday of March to the S.C.O.P.E. Fun Run.
S.C.O.P.E. is an M. D. Anderson-sponsored 5K walk/run dedicated to highlighting the importance of colorectal cancer screenings and honoring those touched by the disease. To date, the run has raised more than $225,000.
"Since 2007, my family and I have recruited 40 relatives and friends to participate in the run," Hinze said. "It has an important message that can save lives - educate others about colorectal cancer and encourage them to get colonoscopies.
"From personal experience, I know the impact awareness can have on a person's health," Hinze continued. "As a survivor, I know how early screening affects one's diagnosis and outcome. I'm happy to do whatever I can to spread these messages and share my experiences with those around me."
The annual run is sanctioned by USA Track & Field and is a chip-timed race. In addition to the adult 5K walk/run at 8 a.m., a non-competitive 1K kids race will begin at 9 a.m. Awards will be given to the top male and female survivors, overall male and female runners and all children who participate in the kids race. After the race, participants will enjoy food, drinks and music at the post-race party in the breezeway of M. D. Anderson's Lowry & Peggy Mays Clinic, 1220 Holcombe Blvd. Free parking is available at the Pressler Garage, 1180 Pressler St.
Race entry fees vary and depend on the registration date. Visit http://dcprpinetcmswww.mdanderson.edu:9992/Rhythmyx/assembler/render?sys_revision=1&sys_siteid=305&sys_authtype=0&sys_context=0&sys_contentid=10953&sys_variantid=558 for more details.
About Colorectal Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of cases are diagnosed after age 50. Colorectal cancer has a 90 percent chance for cure when detected early. Men and women without a family history of this disease should complete a colonoscopy by age 50. Those with a family history or other groups at higher risk of developing the disease, including African Americans and Jews of Eastern European descent, should discuss screening with their physician. Also, a diet high in fat, excessive tobacco use and/or alcohol consumption, diabetes and personal history increases one's risk.