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Cancer prevention includes research

An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure - it's worth your entire life. When it comes to cancer, that ounce of prevention can come in many forms - from eating right and not smoking to getting regular examinations and contributing to cancer research.

While cancer is, unfortunately, with us always, certain times are set aside to draw everyone's attention to the issue. There is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and other observations.

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, but it is not the only opportunity to draw attention to the disease and the terrible toll it takes. This also marks the kick-off month for Relay for Life, and its tireless drive to raise money for cancer research and treatment. This month, we have the opportunity to learn about the causes, the symptoms and the treatments. We also have the opportunities to learn about the strength of survivors, and the battle that is being won, inch by painful inch, in laboratories around the world to put an end to cancer.

If only one person reads our story of a cancer survivor, or skims the information provided by the American Cancer Society, and based on what she has read decides to have a test done, we will have taken a giant step.

But that information and its distribution are not cheap, although they are offered to us for free. The programs, publicity and support groups and research centers require funding from somewhere, at some point, and that is where Relay for Life and similar groups come into play. A contribution to Relay, whether in time or money, is a contribution to life, and a commitment to ending cancer.

Take the tests - most insurance plans pay for them as part of a preventative program. Take the precautions. But most of all, take the time to be aware of the symptoms, the causes and the concerns.

Then - give.