After celebrating Independence Day, it often feels like the month of July brings several weeks of much sought-after peace and quiet. End-of-school year activities have ceased and the return of the academic year remains a comfortable distance away. People go on vacation, take long weekends, and use their free time to sink into summer before August arrives, waving its beckoning arm. It's a wonderful month to relax and spend time with loved ones. Unfortunately, cancer doesn't follow the calendar year and so we at UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter are as busy as ever as our members continue to study and treat this insidious disease.
You too can be part of our activities against cancer and support the cancer community this month. On July 12, the Wayne Fusaro Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund holds its 10th annual Golf Outing and Silent Auction at the Shannopin Country Club in Ben Avon. All of the proceeds will go directly to benefit pancreatic cancer research at UPCI. The fourth leading cause of overall cancer deaths, pancreatic cancer is one of the toughest forms of the disease to diagnose and treat. We must remain dedicated to understanding its etiology and advancing its treatment.
On July 22, "Cookies for the Cure...Sarcoma Awareness Bake Sale & Educational Event" will be held in the Cooper Conference Room at the Hillman Cancer Center from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Educational sessions about sarcoma will be led by our foremost sarcoma experts. Refreshments will be served and free parking at the Hillman Cancer Center garage will be available. A bake sale will also take place throughout the day at the Hillman Cancer Center to benefit the sarcoma research program at UPCI.
Finally the annual Eric Knapp Memorial Golf Outing will be held Saturday, July 31, at the Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gibsonia, to honor Eric Knapp, the owner and architect of the golf club who passed away from cancer in October, 2009. This year's golf outing will benefit the Hillman Cancer Center.
Perhaps you aren't a golfer, nor are you sweet on the idea of attending a bake sale. But you can still use this summer to take charge of your health and manage your personal cancer risk. UPMC CancerCenter offers free monthly skin cancer screenings — this month the screening day is July 16th. Skin cancer can be a very serious disease, but if caught early it is almost always curable.
And even if you don't come in for a skin cancer screening, you can still take some simple steps toward improving your health and cancer risk this month. Use some of this downtime to stop smoking, or take a few steps toward healthier eating — the farmer's markets are overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruit this time of year, making it easier than ever to incorporate some of those great cancer-fighting agents into your diet. Maybe you could add in a walk after dinner or take your (sun-block covered) family to the pool to swim a few laps, and play. Use this time to take those easy steps toward improving your health. Small steps can go a long way toward a cancer-free future.