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Community Leaders Speak Out

   Colon-cancer screening is much easier than you may think. Community leaders from across Washington state, most of them 50 and over, have joined our mission and want to share their experiences with colon-cancer screening.

Their faces and testimonials on this page show that colon cancer touches us all. You do not have to be over 50 to be at risk. Colon cancer can strike early. Learn your risk factors by taking the test »

Our community leaders, regardless of age, feel that it is important to speak and encourage others to be screened for colon cancer to eliminate unnecessary deaths.

See what they have to say. Your colon. Your life. Your call.


Bill Ayer  

"I lost both my parents to cancer"

"Compared to the daily turmoil of the airline industry, my recent
colonoscopy was a non-event.  I lost both my parents to cancer,
and I'm a big believer in regular screenings. Colon cancer is curable,
and early detection is the key."

 
Rich Begert  

Rich Begert

"If I would have known that this was such a non-event, I would not
have procrastinated for a year. Fasting the day before was not even
that hard. Going to the dentist is more distressing. It is a great
comfort to know that colon cancer is not on my list of worries."

 
Herb and Shirley Bridge  

Herb and Shirley Bridge

"Fifty-three years ago, Shirley was diagnosed with colon cancer. She required life-saving surgery to fight it. We know how deadly this disease can be, and how easy it is to get properly screened. We would like to see colon cancer deaths eliminated in Washington state. Please be screened."

 
Fred Brown  

"A lot of people are scared"

“A lot of people are scared or don’t want certain areas examined. So I explain there’s no pain, it’s a simple procedure, and 15 to 20 minutes later, the whole thing is done. I tell people it’s easy. The first time I had a colonoscopy, I went to sleep, and the next thing I knew, I was joking with my doctors.”

 
Donald Brunell  

"I am a firm believer in preventative measures"

"My family has a history of cancer.  My father was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1986 and underwent immediate colon surgery and chemotherapy.  The cancer subsided, but in 1991 it returned as lung and liver tumors.  He died in 1998.  As part of annual physicals started in 1986, I have blood screenings for cancer.  Prior to reaching 55 years of age, I had lower colonoscopies.  Five years ago, I had a complete colonoscopy in which they found and removed polyps which the doctor identified as cancerous.  This winter I am scheduled for my second colonoscopy.  I am a firm believer in preventative measures."

 
Phil Bussey  

"Why wouldn't you?"

“Why wouldn’t you?  Colon cancer is preventable and easily treatable if detected early, so why wouldn’t you get screened?  My wife will tell you that I’m not one to arrive early for anything, but when it comes to screening to prevent cancer, early is where I’ll be!  So should you!”

 
 
Pat Cashman  

"I know that colon cancer is the most preventable cancer there is, if detected early ... or even before it gets under way by removing suspicious polyps. I'll never forget the words of my doctor right before I went to sleep — true: "Well, it looks like you've been getting some sunshine."

 
Richard Counts  

"Having a colonoscopy could keep you from getting colon cancer. It's easy. It's a smart thing to do."

 
Dr. Daniel Church  

Daniel Church

"At Bastyr University we teach that prevention of disease is the best way to ensure long term health. Even though I'm not in the classroom, I figure I'd better practice what we preach. I get regular check-ups — including a colonoscopy — as a part of my personal health discipline."

 
Ed Davila  

Ed Davila, MD

"The Hispanic community is screened at a lower rate than many other communities. To improve the health of our community, we each need to take responsibility for receiving the appropriate cancer screenings and encourage our family and friends to do the same. As a physician I see the difference colon cancer screening can make in the early detection of colon cancer. My advice — talk with your doctor about colon cancer screening."

 
John Dimitriou  

John Dimitriou

"Of all the things to worry about in life, getting a colonoscopy is at the bottom of the list. The test is really no big deal and over before you know it. Compared to what not having it done might represent, it's a no-brainier."

 
Bob Drewel  

Bob Drewel

"I had my first routine colonoscopy in 1999. I'm glad I did! I had precancerous polyps. As a consequence, I had a foot of my colon removed. Ten years later, I am colon cancer- free. I want to encourage everyone to be screened. Do it NOW!"

 
Jean Enersen  

"Colon cancer is preventable and easily treatable if detected early"

"Get tested.  Colon cancer is a cancer we can stop if we catch it early.  There are various kinds of tests.  Ask your doctor which one's best for you.  But colonoscopy is no big deal.  Some doctors even offer you a movie of your colonoscopy!"

 
Phil and Susan Ershler  

Phil and Susan Ershler

"Like so many, our families have been touched by colon cancer. Thanks to good health we've been able to climb to new heights."

 
Jack Faris  

"I see the evidence that this saves lives"

“My work with the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association puts me in contact with scientists and physicians who are developing new and better techniques for early detection of cancer, and I see the evidence that this saves lives.  Even so, I was a little worried about a colonoscopy.  But the procedure is easy and comfortable.  Do it!”

 
Dr. David Fleming  

Dr. David Fleming

"The good news is that you can detect colon cancer early and treat it successfully. Take control of your health and give yourself peace of mind — ask your medical provider for a colon health screening."

 
Elson Floyd  

Elson Floyd

"As president of Washington State University, I have 25,396 students who depend on me each day. I owe it to them, my wife and children, and myself to be screened for colon cancer. It's easy and painless and allows me to focus on my life's work: higher education."

 
Carl and Ethlyn Gibson  

Carl and Ethlyn Gibson

"The Health Coalition for Communities of Color (HC3) and our community partners are proud to support the 50/50 campaign launched by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. HC3's vision is for healthy communities of color and the elimination of health disparities. The mission of the Health Coalition for Communities of Color is to close the health disparity gap that exists for ethnic minorities in the United States. We seek to accomplish this by informing, educating and empowering members of those communities to become active participants in their health care and to live healthy lifestyles. Colon cancer has targeted communities of color, and we firmly believe that education and screening can make drastic changes and save lives!!! We support education, screening and community involvement in the process."

 
Jean Godden  

Jean Godden

"The good news is that colon cancer screening is easy, it's painless and it's potentially life saving. My doctor insisted that I take this test, and I'm glad I did."

 
Larry Gossett  

Larry Gossett

"I am so glad that Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is being a leader and getting information out to the entire community regarding colon cancer. Many health issues and challenges facing the minority community are due to lack of access to information, especially when it comes to various health tests and screenings. Even before the age of 50 all of us should begin to ask our doctors about screenings and schedule them regularly.

Colon cancer screening is quick, painless and can save your life. I know because I've had a colonoscopy. Go talk to your doctor and get screened today."

 
Cristobal Guillen  

Cristobel Guillen

"You've thought about it long enough. Now talk to your doctor and just do it."

 
Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney  

"Early screening is a smart investment"

“Early screening is a smart investment; early detection saved my life.  We must educate each other about colorectal-cancer screening and the importance of early detection.  Do not leave it to chance.  We must provide access to screening for everyone, especially for those who have no health care coverage.  Let’s make this a priority and work together to fight this disease so that we never have to hear from our friends and loved ones: Why me?”

 
Lee Hartwell  

"We are currently almost helpless in preventing many cancers or detecting them early when they can be cured. Fortunately, a colonoscopy every 10 years after the age of 50 is an effective means of detecting colon cancer at its earliest stages and, if a polyp is detected, it can be removed during the examination. In my experience, screening is easy and can save your life."

 
Rep. Jay Inslee  

Jay Inslee

"It's so easy. Making an appointment is the hardest part."

 
Deborah Jacobs  

"Public libraries are all about providing information, so it's natural for me to support spreading the word about colon-cancer screening. I had a colonoscopy when I turned 50, just like the guidelines suggest. Information is empowering — I urge you to take control of your health and call your physician today."

 
 

"With a family history of colon cancer making the decision to have my first colonoscopy was an easy one. Like many people, I was very anxious, and insisted that I be totally out for the procedure. When the nurse began wheeling me into the room, I remember saying, "but I'm still awake." The next thing I remember was the doctor telling me everything looked fine, and it was over. Making the decision to have a colonoscopy is one of the most important for you and the people who care about you."

 
Speight Jenkins  

"I don't want what happened to my father to be repeated"

“My father died of colon cancer.  I am so grateful that colonoscopies can help prevent this awful disease.  The procedure has been, in my experience, without pain.  I actually pressure my doctor to make sure I don’t go too long between colonoscopies.  I don’t want what happened to my father to be repeated.”

 
Ricardo Jimenez  

Ricardo Jimenez

"We want people in the Spanish-speaking community to understand that prevention is the best way to combat cancer and health challenges. Lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and screenings are the best way to keep people healthy. It is all about asking questions, getting information, and taking action. We hope that this 50/50 campaign takes some of the fear out of colon-cancer screenings. Please talk to your doctor today. The questions you ask will save your life!"

"Queremos que la gente de nuestra comunidad Latina entienda que la prevención es la mejor manera de combatir el cáncer y otros problemas serios de salud. Cambios de estilo de vida permanentes como la dieta, ejercicio y detección temprana son la mejor manera de mantenernos saludables. Es importante hacer preguntas, obtener información y tomar decisiones. Esperamos que esta campaña 50/50 quite algo del temor de hacerse la detección temprana de cáncer. Por favor, hable con su médico hoy. Las preguntas que Ud. haga hoy pueden salvarle la vida mañana!"

 
Kate Joncas  

"I can think of no better way to have a healthy community"

“I can think of no better way to have a healthy community than to encourage all of our citizens to get the recommended health screenings — particularly screening for colon cancer. If everyone followed the recommendations for health-care screenings, and detected health issues early, imagine what we could save in health-care costs. Colon-cancer screening is easy — let's get it done.  I support colon-cancer screening. It is easy and has the potential to save many lives.”

 
Lynn Kessler  

Lynn Kessler

"Although my aunt died of colon cancer, I was reluctant to have a colonoscopy because of all the horror stories I'd heard from friends and relatives. As I approached my 67th birthday, I realized how foolish it was not to have a test that could save my life. Fortunately, I passed with flying colors and didn't think it was as bad as I was told. I strongly encourage everyone to have a colonoscopy and don't wait until it's too late."

 
Steve Leahy  

"Certainty is better than uncertainty"

"My dad died of colon cancer, so I'm at risk for the same.  Once I conquered my apprehension about the procedure, it was quick and painless.  I've had two colonoscopies over the last seven years, and it's reassuring to get a clean bill of health.  Certainty is better than uncertainty."

 
Gary Locke  

Gary Locke

"When talking about colon cancer screenings, the biggest hurdle is fear of the actual screening itself. What completely surprised me was how simple and painless the test was. I checked in, and it was over. The test was nothing! Call your doctor and get screened today."

 
Roberto Maestas  

Roberto Maestas

"¿Cuánto vale una vida? How much is one life worth? Life is priceless, but tragically, 55,000 will lose theirs here in the United States. but for a simple test that detects cancer of the colon. Por favor, get screened for this painless test as I did and perhaps save su vida."

 
Rev. Samuel McKinney  

Rev. Samuel McKinney

"Cancer has no boundaries and cancer does not discriminate. Cancer does not ask how much money you have, how much status you have attained, what color you are or even if you attend church on Sunday. What we do know is that the older a person is, the risk for cancer increases and that regular checkups and screenings are the best form of prevention.

I appreciate Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for asking me to be a part of this 50 over 50 campaign. In my time I have spoken to many, but I really want to focus my attention on one particular group that is stubborn when it comes to health issues, and that is us MEN. Men have so many excuses for not going to their doctor, especially when it comes to screenings for colon cancer.

The fact is, screenings will save your life.

Yes, our wives, mothers, daughters, aunts and sisters will 'nag' us but men, especially after age 50, have to summon the courage to get regular checkups and screenings. MEN need to start talking to each other.

The test is so simple, it is virtually an afterthought. If you have not been screened, call you doctor today.

Livertas Postea Pax!"

 
Karen Morse  


"Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Too many people do not take advantage of regular screenings, which can detect evidence of the disease early, when it is most treatable. Neglecting a screening is neglecting your family and you. I urge all Washington citizens, especially those over age 50, to be regularly screened for colon cancer."

 
Jamie Moyer  

"It's never too early to be prepared"

“It’s never too early to be prepared. Men and women under 50 can get colon cancer. I’m not 50 yet and have no family history of colon cancer, but having a colon-cancer screening is definitely in my game plan. It’s important to talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening now and make sure you know what to do when the time is right for you. Help strike out cancer!”

 
Ralph Munro  

Ralph Munro

"Since leaving office seven years ago, I have worked very hard eliminating polio on the continent of Africa. In my travels I have learned the importance of education, preventative medicine and the need to take action. I am glad that Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is educating the public on the importance of early screening for colon cancer. I get regular screenings, and the procedure is painless. People have to understand that screenings can save lives. Talk to your doctor and get screened today."

 
Sally Narodick  

"My husband and I did our colonoscopies together"

“I was happy to do it. My husband and I did our colonoscopies together.”

 
Jane Nelson  

"I am thrilled to support this effort by the 'Hutch'

"I am thrilled to support this effort by the 'Hutch.'  Having lost my father to colon cancer 18 years ago, I understand the lifesaving importance of colon-cancer screening.  However, I kept avoiding having the test for all the obvious reasons.  Now that I've had it, I can say that it is not that bad.  So, get tested!"

 
Assunta Ng  

Assunta Ng

"My doctor told me that I should be screened for colon cancer. It's not something that I was thrilled to do, but it's necessary. And it's not that bad. It's quick, and you know the results right away. I know that I'm healthy and I don't have to do this again for years!!"

 
Roger Oglesby  

Roger Oglesby

"Colon cancer screening is a no-brainer. It may sound daunting, but once you've been through a colonoscopy you'll understand it's really a walk through the park — and the potential benefit is huge."

 
Pam Pearson  

"Takes more time talking about it than doing it"

"Takes more time talking about it than doing it. I had none of the risk factors — yet I decided to do it anyway.  During the procedure they found and removed a polyp.  Don't wait!  Think of it as one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and your family."

 
Patti Payne  

Patti Payne

"So, how's your colon? Not exactly everyday conversation, is it? But you really should know the answer, for your peace of mind. I've been having diagnostic colon tests for years. Simple, preventive procedures as easy as going to sleep and waking up. Be your own best friend. Don't hesitate to get yourself tested."

 
Paul Ramsey  

Paul Ramsey

"UW Medicine physicians are experts in treating colon cancer. But their expertise is only as effective as your participation in your health care. The first step is yours. Get a colonoscopy — a simple procedure that can detect and eliminate polyps before they become cancerous."

 
 
Dave Reichert  

Dave Reichert

"Preventative care is absolutely essential. Getting regular screenings and closely monitoring your health can save your children, your family and your loved ones from the pain of losing you, which is reason enough to go and get screened. So don't delay, go do it!"

 
Rick Rizzs  

Rick Rizzs

"It's so easy and simple to make the most important investment in your life — your health. Prevention is the key to good health. It's OK to be afraid of cancer, BUT don't be afraid of a test that could save your life. I encourage you to take the time to have a colonoscopy. You're in and out in no time (no pun intended) with the information you need to go on with the rest of your life. I'm glad I did."

 
Dave Ross  

Dave Ross

"It's quick, painless, only mildly embarrassing, and it can save your life. Catching a potential problem early just makes common sense. And how often do you lose 4 pounds overnight?"

 
Mary Selecky  

Mary Selecky

"There is no greater teacher than experience and example. My mom survived colon cancer because of early detection. It is simple: Prevention is the best medicine. That's why I've made colon-cancer screening part of my regular health care routine. I've had my screening; have you?"

 
Gerard Schwarz  

Gerard Schwarz

"Preventative medical care is extremely important to us all. That's why I began colon- cancer screenings when I turned 50 and continue to protect myself in this extremely important procedure. I hope all of our citizens realize its importance for saving lives."

 
Mary Skinner  

Mary Skinner

"Beating colon cancer involves awareness, information and education.
Awareness: Colon cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, if found early. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment increase survival.
Information: Learn about prevention. Know your options if you are positively diagnosed. There is hope. Never give up.
Education: Educate yourself and others. It can save YOUR life."

 
 
Jim Sinegal  

Jim Sinegal

"Having gone through colon-cancer surgery, I clearly understand the importance of early screening. It had an incredible impact on my life, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the easy testing that is available."

 
F. Marc Stewart  

F. Marc Stewart

"Colon cancer may be a preventable disease if polyps (often the precursors to cancer) are detected and removed. A polyp-free colon may be a cancer-free colon. Colonoscopy is an effective method of finding and removing polyps. My first colonoscopy at age 50 was very easy. I was mildly sedated and didn't remember any of the procedure. It is a very valuable procedure with minimal side effects or discomfort."

 
Susan Taoka  

"cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Asian-Americans"

"People may be surprised to learn that cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Asian-Americans.  That is why procedures, such as colonoscopies, which promote early detection, are so important in our community."

 
Greg Vigdor  

Greg Vigdor

"Colon cancer screening is one of those simple and practical things we can all do to help make Washington the healthiest state in the nation. Get yours — and tell a friend to get theirs!"

 
Lenny Wilkins  

Lenny Wilkins

"Coaching a championship team or taking care of your personal health all starts with the fundamentals, especially after age 50. Exercise, diet, regular checkups and screenings with your doctor all are vital in preventing serious health problems. Colon-cancer screening is an exam that should be done regularly. The exam is simple, has very little discomfort, and can save your life. Talk to your doctor, ask questions, and get screened today."

 
Tay Yoshitani  

"It was that easy"

“This is so important to do, but it really is no big deal.  I asked the nurse when they were going to get started, and she said they were already finished!  It was that easy.” 

 
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