Columns for The Lufkin News

Cattle Baron's Gala Supports Local Cancer Patients

Posted Oct 06, 2015 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

I always look forward to the Pineywoods Cattle Baron's Gala. Not only do I have a good time, I know the money raised is going to a great cause - the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, there has been recurrent grumbling - from what I hope is an unenlightened minority - that the money raised doesn't stay local. I understand this "local first" mindset and agree that we should expect local return on our charitable giving. The American Cancer Society delivers that in spades.

Yes, the American Cancer Society is a national organization. But did you know that the American Cancer Society has a regional office building right here in Lufkin? This office was built thanks to generous local foundation, business, and individual support. Did you know this office houses eight employees and serves a 12-15 county region? Annual payroll, benefits and overhead is about $450,000 per year. These are good local jobs that feed back into the local economy at a time when all local jobs are significant.

But it isn't just about the jobs. Every dollar raised has local impact in many more ways. Since I started practice in Lufkin nearly 23 years ago, the overall cure rate for cancer has increased from 50% to over 70%. That translates to local lives saved, not in small part due to the incredible research funded by the American Cancer Society. Statistically, an additional 120 people who come through the Temple Cancer Center every year are cured! Now, that is local impact!

Did you know that the American Cancer Society National Cancer Information Center in Austin handles close to 1 million requests for cancer information annually, including calls from Lufkin and deep East Texas? Those calls, emails and online chats provide direct, one-on-one support and information about local services for local patients, including navigation and information on how to access insurance coverage when possible. (By the way, some of these services, like rides for patients to appointments, require local drivers. You can volunteer to help!)

Did you know that every new cancer patient seen in the Temple Cancer receives accurate, specific educational material provided by the American Cancer Society? And local cancer patients have access to wigs, supplies, and support services whether they receive treatment locally or not.

Did you know that the American Cancer Society funds efforts to increase screening rates for cancer? More than 4.6 million women in need have been helped since 1991 through the national breast and cervical cancer early detection program. The latest project is to screen 80% of the eligible population for colorectal cancer by 2018. Colorectal cancer screening can find and remove polyps before they become cancerous, and that prevents colorectal cancer. And what about the incredible American Cancer Society work in the area of tobacco control? Locally, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network was instrumental in the passage of smoking ordinances in both Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

What about local patients who choose to travel to the Texas Medical Center for treatment? Soon they will have access to free lodging at Hope Lodge Houston provided by - guess who? - the American Cancer Society. The TLL Temple Foundation generously provided the lead gift for the Hope Lodge Houston. 

What about the various treatments we recommend for cancer patients? Those treatments very well may have been developed from research supported by none other than the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society has funded an incredible $4 billion in research grants since 1946. In Texas alone, this year nearly $36 million is currently invested in research.

Website presence? The American Cancer Society's website, cancer.org, is the most trusted website available when it comes to cancer information, with 61 million hits logged in 2014.

The suggestion that funds raised by American Cancer Society events don’t stay local (or don’t benefit our local community) simply can't be supported by facts. Not only that, it misses the point that we can accomplish so much more together than what we can by ourselves. Isn't that our community spirit anyway?

Join me this Saturday night, October 10th, at the Moore Farm for the 2015 Pineywoods Cattle Baron's Gala in support of the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving cancer research, education, and truly local services. Call (936) 634-2940 for ticket information.

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Meet Our Team

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

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Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Lead Radiation Therapist

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Radiation Therapist

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Radiation Therapist

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Dosimetrist

Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

Medical Radiation Physicist

Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

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