Let’s join the fight with cancer

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We all know them.

The young mother battling breast cancer.

The child fighting Leukemia.

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The grandfather going toe-to-toe with lung cancer.

You may even be that person that’s in the middle of a war with cancer.

Cancer affects nearly everyone.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013. An estimated 27,080 of those cases will be in Alabama.

During the same year, about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer. That’s almost 1,600 people per day, or one in every four deaths in the United States. That makes cancer the second most common cause of death in the country, second only to heart disease.

Those are some pretty staggering numbers, and an indication about just how serious our country’s battle with cancer really is.

Despite those statistics, which paint a pretty grim picture, there’s reason to be hopeful.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2012. Some of these individuals were cancer free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment. The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2002 and 2008 is 68 percent, up from 49 percent in 1975 to 1977.

That’s due to researchers that have made great strides in finding ways to fight cancer. That research isn’t cheap.

One of the ways we can help offset that cost is by joining together to take part in Butler County’s Relay for Life, which will be held at 6 p.m. at the Greenville YMCA.

Relay for Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash. His efforts that first year raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society, according to the Relay For Life website.

To date the event has raised more than $4 billion to fight cancer.

We believe Relay for Life is an important event, and not just because it raises money for much-needed research.

It also celebrates the lives of people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost to cancer and helps us fight back against this disease, which has impacted so many.

It’s a chance for us as a community to rally around those in Butler County who are affected by this terrible disease by doing our part to raise money for cancer research.

We hope to see you all at the YMCA on Friday night.