As reported by the Connecticut Post, May 10, 2006.

Prevention Called Cure to Cancer

Healthy Council Dinner Focuses on Fighting Disease

By Meg Barone

STRATFORD — The answer to cancer is to stop it before it starts, a nationally prominent physician and cancer researcher told guests at a forum organized by the town's Health Department.

Dr. Carolyn Runowicz, speaking to about 60 people during the Stratford Healthy Council's annual dinner last Thursday at St. Joseph Church hall, offered seven cancer-prevention steps:

  • quit smoking.
  • maintain a healthy weight.
  • eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.
  • exercise.
  • practice safe sex.
  • avoid overexposure to the sun.
  • get regular screenings, such as colonoscopy and mammogram.

Runowicz, also director of the Carole and Ray Neag Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, was the keynote speaker for the event, which served as a reminder about the American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Bunnell High School on Friday and Saturday.

"Nothing makes me more sad than to drive by a high school and see kids smoking," said Runowicz, author of several books, including the recent, "The Answer to Cancer," which she co-wrote with her husband, Dr. Sheldon Cherry.

Runowicz discussed lifestyle changes, new cancer treatments, promising clinical trials and risk factors for the disease, which claims about 600,000 people each year, "a third of which," she said, "are preventable."

Eileen O'Keefe, director of Stratford's Health Department, quoted Thomas Jefferson — "Without health there is no happiness" — and Ralph Waldo Emerson — "Health is the first wealth."

"I learned a lot about cancer and the prevention of cancer. I've known people who have died from colon cancer. I'm sure if they did the test earlier, they might still be here. It's better knowing than not knowing," said Elaine Ward of Bridgeport, an educator for the American Red Cross.

At the dinner, the outgoing chairwoman of the Healthy Stratford Council, Ty Sims, was honored, as was Diane Sheridan, who is involved with the local Relay for Life.

"The town of Stratford has been unbelievable, raising over $600,000 in five years at Relay for Life," Sheridan said.

The event celebrates cancer survivors and remembers those people who have died from the disease, while raising money for research, education and treatment.

Registration for local Relay for Life, a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, begins at 3 p.m. Friday and continues through the night at Bunnell High. The survivors' ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. For more details about the Stratford Relay for Life, call the American Cancer Society at1-800-889-3340, ext. 3, or check www.acsevents.org/relay/ctstratford.