Spotlight on Cancer: Action & Awareness

One person dies from cancer every minute of every day in this country. In 2013, 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. In our lifetimes, women have a one in three chance of developing cancer and men have a one in two chance. On this special episode, we’re shining a spotlight on cancer – talking about ways to prevent it, new ways to treat it, and how to stop cancer from killing the people we love. For Katie and for everyone in this studio, this battle is personal.

After Katie lost her husband, Jay, to colon cancer 15 years ago, she made it her life’s mission to spread awareness about the disease. Dr. Felice Schnoll-Sussman is the director of research at The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, a clinical center of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital named in honor of Katie’s late husband.

“There’s been such a push to get people to understand that this cancer is preventable.” -Dr. Felice Schnoll-Sussman

When Katie was on the TODAY Show, she had an on-air coloscopy because she wanted to show people how easy it really is. Now Katie is reprising that moment, this time with a New York City viewer named Marcy Warren.

“It wasn’t bad at all..It’s unfortunate that it gets a bad wrap.” -Marcy Warren

Cancer has become the number one killer of men and women worldwide, surpassing heart disease, AIDS and malaria. Almost everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another – some are living with cancer, some have lost people they love, and some, like actress Maura Tierney, are survivors.

“I said, ‘But I’m so young.’” -Maura Tierney

Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller and actress Fran Drescher also know what it’s like to battle cancer. Shannon survived ovarian cancer and Fran survived uterine cancer. These types of cancer are silent killers that often go undiagnosed, until it’s too late.

“If something doesn’t feel right, be ok with talking about it.” -Shannon Miller

A lot of us have heard of HPV, the human papillomavirus, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer. One of the most exciting breakthroughs in cancer research has been the HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer. But did you know that a strain of that same virus is also the cause of an increasing number of oral cancers? Blythe Danner’s husband Bruce Paltrow died of oral cancer in 2002 and Dr. Marshall Posner is a head and neck oncologist.

“It is the fastest growing cancer today.” -Blythe Danner

“You have cancer” could be the scariest three words you’ll ever hear. But thanks to brand new research and cutting edge treatments, you have a better chance than ever of beating this deadly disease. Dr. Craig Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, explains these exciting new developments.

“We are going to see significant advances every decade.” -Dr. Craig Thompson

Has your life been touched by cancer? Share your stories with us below.