Health educator: Don’t fear cancer

Published 8:55 pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

By Gene Denison

Special to the News-Herald

If you do the right things, you won’t have to fear cancer. That was the message Amy Peterson gave to the recent meeting of the Suffolk Kiwanis club.

Amy Peterson addressing the Kiwanis Club’s weekly meeting at Kelly’s Tavern on West Constance Road.

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Peterson, the community health educator for cancer administration at Sentara Obici Hospital, stressed the survivability of many types of cancer. “Do some simple things and you’ll find that you can be in the enviable position of avoiding cancer completely or surviving it if you do contract it. Prostate, colon, liver, cervical and even breast cancer have near cure rates of 60 to 90 percent, when caught in the earliest stages.”

Her advice was to get regular checkups with a good, thorough doctor. “And be sure that the doctor both listens to you and talks to you. If he or she doesn’t communicate with you, find another doctor.”

Get all the basic tests that apply — prostate exams and PSA tests, pap smears, colonoscopies, mammograms and complete body checks for skin cancer. Finally, Peterson listed some foods to enjoy that have beneficial effects on the body’s resistance to the development of cancer. She listed broccoli and coffee, along with many others. “Don’t forget to drink lots of water, too.”

Relatively new at her profession, Peterson had a background of working with the Youth Group and Women’s Group at Faith Lutheran Church in Suffolk. There, she honed her speaking skills and developed a warm feeling toward other people, and especially to individuals who need help.

Peterson is available to speak to civic groups, church groups or any organization that would like to learn more about preventing and surviving cancer. She can be reached at Sentara Obici Hospital by calling 934-4395.