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Doctors Spread Cancer Awareness Throughout April

Cancer specialists say the word "cancer" isn’t as scary today as it was 20 years ago, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. April is Cancer Awareness Month and KSMU’s Kristian Kriner spoke with a cancer specialist about certain cancers and how to detect them early.

Cancer centers across the world are making progress in treating cancer.

Autumn Bragg is the community oncology educator for Cox Hospital.

She says the most common type of cancer is skin cancer.

“Be aware of your body. Look at any changes in moles or new abrasions on our body that aren’t healing and just be really proactive. If you don’t feel like something is right got to your doctor and don’t give up until you feel like you have found the answer,” Bragg said.

She says with summertime just around the corner, people need to be careful about being in the sun too long.

Bragg says the leading cancer in men is prostate cancer and the leading cancer in women is breast cancer.

“Once a cancer is in the later stages, the mortality rates rise quite a bit, so that’s why it’s important for us to educate the public about screenings and if there are any warning signs or symptoms. Kind of educating them about what those are that way they can go and seek medical attention,” Bragg said.

She says women should get mammograms frequently after the age of 40 and men should get colonoscopies when they turn 50.

Bragg says a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking increase the chances of certain types of cancers.

She says smoking can cause 13 different types of cancer, especially lung cancer.

“For each cancer there are certain risk factors and so just educating yourself about that and having open discussions with your primary care physician is probably the best. And one of the things to remember is if you have a family history of cancers to discuss that with your doctor to make sure because that does put you at a higher risk for certain cancers as well,” Bragg said.

Bragg says the most important things are go to necessary screenings and if there is anything unusual to see a doctor as soon as possible.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.