Healthwise: City council makes plea to help save lives

Healthwise: City council makes plea to help save lives

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It was an emotional City Council meeting Tuesday when Mayor Dan Pope turned the mic over to city councilmen Juan Chadis and councilman Randy Christian, both colon cancer survivors, to let them explain why Lubbock is observing March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with a proclamation.

Everyone there gave due credit to Dr. Davor Vugrin, M.D., the cancer specialist who launched the Colon Cancer Prevention Task Force nearly 20 years ago.

From the beginning, his goal was to educate people about the disease and get more people screened for the disease.

Chadis told everyone at the meeting today that it has been 25 years since he battled colon cancer.

“Cancer is not a death sentence," Chadis said. "You have to be proactive about it.”

Christian told the group that he has survived colon cancer twice and expects to defeat it again if it ever returns. He has long been a supporter of the task force and told the group, “we have saved a lot of lives in the last 20 years.”

The attention to colon cancer at the Lubbock City Council meeting follows a major effort last week when Dr. Vugrin went to the state capitol with State Senator Charles Perry to address the Senate. He also accompanied State Representative John Frullo in the House to spread the word that colonoscopy screening saves lives.

Dr. Vugrin said in his many years of research and clinical trials, he has learned the best way to fight cancer.

New guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest everyone should be screened for colon cancer by age 45 or at least talk to your doctor so you understand if you have personal risk factors. Dr. Vugrin said 90 percent of colon cancers develop in people after the age of 50.

However, he adds that in some rare cases where there is an inherited factor, that screening should begin in the teen years to prevent the likelihood of colon cancer developing by age 40.

“It became clear that in order to win that we needed to concentrate on preventing cancer, not waiting until it occurs and treating it," Vugrin said.

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