|A Simple Reminder Could Save Your Life|
March 2002 -- Scheduling and having regular cancer screening tests could significantly reduce the chance of you being diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.
"Timing is critical when it comes to cancer-the sooner it is detected, the better the chance for successful treatment," said Paula Szypko, MD, FCAP, a pathologist from High Point, North Carolina. "Even though people may know that early cancer detection saves lives, many say that they are ''too busy' or simply ''forget' to schedule their regular cancer screens, such as Pap tests, colon exams and mammograms."
This year, more than 100,000 people will die from colon cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer combined-three cancers that can be treated, if detected early. The College of American Pathologists is looking to significantly lower those numbers with its new reminder Web site, www.MyHealthTestReminder.com.
The free health test reminder Web site, featuring information in both Spanish and English, was created in response to surprising data from a recent Gallup poll. The poll results indicated that women who receive a reminder to schedule a Pap test are nearly twice as likely to report getting a Pap test within the past 12 months than women who do not receive a reminder. Among those surveyed who said they did not receive a reminder, 62 percent felt they would be more likely to make an appointment if reminded.
"It was surprising that a simple reminder had such a huge impact on the health of so many people," said Dr. Szypko.
In less than one minute, a person can log onto www.MyHealthTestReminder.com, register and choose the health test reminder(s) they want to receive-mammogram, Pap test or colon cancer screening-and when they would like to receive the reminder. The site will automatically send a private e-mail reminder on the requested date.
Some may question whether a reminder about colon, breast or cervical exams crosses the bounds of privacy.
"Cancer took my self-esteem, my privacy and it almost took my life," said Wanna Wright, a cervical and breast cancer survivor from Emeryville, California. "I see no good reason to be bashful about this potential killer. To me, a reminder about my regular Pap test or mammogram is no different from the helpful reminder I get from my dentist for my regular check-up."
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