Statistics provided by Medscape Medical News tell us cancer death rates in men fell 21 percent from 1990 to 2006 due primarily to conspicuous drops in fatalities from lung, prostate and colorectal cancer. Collectively, these three diseases accounted for 80 percent of the decline in cancer-related deaths in men.
Among women, data show a 12.3 percent drop in cancer death rates over the same period. Most decreases are in breast and colorectal cancer.
True, these are only numbers ... merely statistics. But, statistics tell a pivotal story. They are a gauge of improvement, a sign of trends going in the right or wrong directions. In this case, the numbers are telling a good story.
It is easy enough to credit medical technology, research and doctors who have worked feverishly to slow the momentum that cancer had built over so many years. Their efforts are a vital part of the puzzle, but it is important to remember their work is made possible by those who come earlier — fundraisers.
In the Cleveland area community, one of the most established cogs in this worthy cause is the Bradley County Relay for Life. This year’s downtown event took place on the weekend shared by April and May, and it included dozens of area businesses, industries, organizations and groups who came together in a common mission to do their part in helping one day to eradicate this hideous disease.
Just a few days ago, the American Cancer Society recognized these wonderful companies, and their dedicated employees, who worked so doggedly to make this year’s Relay another huge success. The companies were recognized in multiple categories. The list is well worth repeating, not as much to glorify their strong results, but to acknowledge their leadership roles in the growing fight against cancer.
-Top Corporate Fundraisers: Arch Chemicals, Wright Brothers Construction and Eaton.
-Top Non-Corporate Fund-raiers: Local 899, Surviving with Sheila and COPE.
-Top School Fundraisers: Oak Grove, Bradley Central High School Wrestling and South Polk Elementary.
-Top Church Fundraisers: Clingan Ridge Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and West Cleveland Baptist Church.
-Team Spirit Award: Guardian Home Health.
-First Place Campsite Awards: Blue Ridge Oncology, best display of American Cancer Society mission; United Community Bank, best display of Relay theme; and Arch Chemicals, most creative.
-First Place T-Shirt Awards: Guardian Home Health, best display of ACS mission; Blue Ridge Oncology, best display of Relay theme; and Home Health Care of East Tennessee, most creative.
-Grand Food Champion: Life Care Centers of America.
-Food Category Winners: Clingan Ridge, best overall; Oak Grove, best entrees; and Cleveland Utilities, best dessert.
We urge you to get — or remain — involved in the next Relay. You may do so by contacting Angela Mathis at ACS at 423-855-2778 or by visiting on-line at www.relayforlife.org/bradleytn.
Thank you for all you have, are and will be doing to wipe out cancer. Yours is a noble fight well worth the fighting!