Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cancer screenings set for Pomona park festival

By The Herald Staff | 6/20/2014

POMONA — A weekend celebration is as good a time as any for residents to take action on their health, organizers of a local cancer screening said.

Franklin County residents have the opportunity to participate in a free screening 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Pomona City Hall during the community’s Summer in the Park festivities. Kansas Masons are organizing 11 free cancer screening events this year.

“I’ve been told that about 25 percent of the people who attend our Masonic Lodge screenings are advised by the medical staff to follow up with their doctor afterwards,” Don Willford, a volunteer with Masonic Lodge No. 41 in Pomona, said. “That has turned out to be lifesaving advice for a number of people.”

Such advice led to an early cancer diagnosis for Jim Kay when he volunteered to help coordinate a screening event last May, according to a news release from the Midwest Cancer Alliance and Kansas Masonic Foundation.

While Kay, a western Kansas resident, was volunteering, dermatologist Kim Tefft noticed a dark spot on Kay’s neck and suggested he undergo a skin cancer screening during a break in his volunteer shift. Upon closer inspection of Kay’s neck during the screening, Tefft recommended he follow-up with a local specialist for a diagnosis.

“I’d had that spot for a while but I just never got around to having it checked,” Kay said. “However, once the KU Med dermatologist also advised me to see someone, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a cancer center in my community.”

The dermatologist diagnosed it as an early melanoma and Kay had it removed a short time later. At his six week follow-up visit, melanoma was no longer detected.

“Melanomas can quickly spread and lead to serious health problems and even death,” Tefft said. “The sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the better chance a patient has of recovery.”

More than 2 million Americans are diagnosed each year with some form of skin cancer, and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Nearly 9,000 Americans die of skin cancer every year, the group said.

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