Free cancer screenings offered during Pomona’s Summer in the Park celebration – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Free cancer screenings offered during Pomona’s Summer in the Park celebration

Cancer screenings proven as life saver for Kansans

When Jim Kay volunteered to help coordinate the cancer screening event hosted by his Masonic Lodge last May he had no idea that it would, literally, be a life changing experience.

Kay, a member of the Kansas Masons for more than 50 years, didn’t hesitate to help out when his Lodge decided to host one of the Kansas Masonic Foundation’s (KMF) free cancer screenings.

One of the Kansas Masons’ cancer screening events will be held 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at Pomona City Hall, during the city’s Summer in the Park celebration.

KMF holds screenings across Kansas in partnership with the Midwest Cancer Alliance, the outreach arm of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, and KU Medical Center medical staff. According to Brooke Groneman, the outreach director for MCA, more than 3,000 Kansas residents have attended the screenings.

“I’ve been told that about 25 percent of the people who attend our Masonic Lodge screenings are advised by the medical staff to follow up with their doctor afterwards,” said Don Willford, a volunteer with Masonic Lodge No. 41 in Pomona. “That has turned out to be life-saving advice for a number of people.”

That’s exactly what happened in the case of Willford’s fellow Mason from Ottawa County, Jim Kay. Kay’s volunteer tasks included picking up the medical staff that flew in from Kansas City for the screening. During introductions dermatologist Kim Tefft, MD, noticed a dark spot on Kay’s neck and suggested he undergo a skin cancer screening during a break in his volunteer shift.  After more closely inspecting Kay’s neck during the screening, Tefft recommended that he follow-up with a local specialist for a diagnosis.

“I’d had that spot for a while but I just never got around to having it checked,” explained Kay. “However, once the KU Med dermatologist also advised me to see someone, I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a cancer center in my community,” said Kay.

The dermatologist diagnosed it as an early melanoma and Kay had it removed a short time later. At his six-week follow-up visit melanoma was no longer detected.

“Melanomas can quickly spread and lead to serious health problems and even death,” said Tefft. “The sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the better chance a patient has of recovery.”

Every year more than two million Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer, and 1-in-5 Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Close to 9,000 Americans die of skin cancer every year.

In addition to skin cancer screenings, Groneman noted, the KMF events also offer prostate cancer and bone density screenings as well as breast cancer information.

“Year after year Kansas Masons have shown remarkable support for cancer education and research,” said Robert Shively, Director of The Kansas Masonic Foundation. “These cancer screening events are one of the many ways Masons are making a difference in their communities.”

“I think it’s terrific that our lodge can provide this service during the Summer in The Park fair for friends and neighbors in this area,” said Willford. “I am proud to be part of it.”

To participate in the screening event on June 21 stop by the Pomona City Hall between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information on the event in Pomona call Don Willford at 785-218-3152. To find out about the Kansas Masonic Foundation’s other free cancer screening events in 2014, contact the Midwest Cancer Alliance at 913-588-4719, or the Kansas Masonic Foundation, 785-357-7646.

Information thanks to Midwest Cancer Alliance.

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