21. Green fingers of Life springing up through the winter's dead brown.
22. That my father chose my name. Gail, from Abigail, meaning “Father’s joy”
23. Having a father who loved me no matter what.
24. Growing up in a family where laughter was more common than tears.
25. Knowing I’ll see my dad again.Seven years ago today my father, Samuel L. Poag, Jr died of esophageal cancer. He was diagnosed in the fall of 2003 and passed away five months later. Considering he was only given three months to live, we were glad to have the extra sixty days with him. In honor of Dad and in the hopes of raising awareness of this killer I’d like to share the following information with you.
April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
Esophageal Cancer: What You Should Know
Esophageal cancer is a very difficult disease to cure, and early detection is essential. The Saint Barnabas Health Care System in Livingston, NJ, provides the following information about esophageal cancer for better recognition and understanding of this condition. Some facts about this condition:
- Men are about three times more likely than women to develop esophageal cancer.
- The chance of developing esophageal cancer increases with age.
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is more common in African-Americans.
- In the United States, the rates of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus have increased in the last 20 years.
- Risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, gastric reflux and Barrett esophagus, a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid.
- The most common signs of esophageal cancer are painful or difficult swallowing and weight loss. Other signs include: regurgitation of food, chest pain unrelated to eating, discomfort when swallowing solids or liquids, indigestion or heartburn, hoarseness and cough; and vomiting blood.
- A physician should be consulted if any of the symptoms listed above occur.
- BALTIMORE, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Esophageal Cancer is the fastest increasing cancer diagnosis in the U.S. – up more than 400 percent in the past 20 years – and it usually a death sentence. Perhaps most shocking, for Americans, it is usually caused by persistent heartburn or acid reflux disease.
- In the U.S., someone dies of this disease every 36 minutes.
Until two years ago, there was no national advocacy organization fighting Esophageal Cancer. But the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN, ) led by top physicians, business leaders and families the cancer has touched, is tackling this devastating disease head on. ECAN is working to make sure those with persistent heartburn become aware of their risk of developing a disease that kills more than 80 percent of those who develop it.
Esophageal Cancer has such a poor survival rate largely because it is usually discovered at late stages. That's why ECAN's early detection message is so important. With early detection, new medical procedures have produced cure rates of 98 percent.
ECAN's Executive Director Mindy Mintz Mordecai is emphatic about the importance of screening for Esophageal Cancer. "These new developments in treating the precancerous and early stages of the disease make early detection of this cancer so important because, if we find it early, people can now be cured – they don't just get a better chance of survival – they can be cured!"