Posted on March 6th, 2014 8:17 pm
It’s uncomfortable. The preparation the day before is unpleasant. I don’t have time for this. I don’t want to think about this. These are all excuses some people might give when told it’s time to schedule a colon cancer screening, such as colonoscopy. But by putting it off, you could be risking your life. And if you think a colonoscopy might be uncomfortable, unpleasant or time-consuming, consider the implications of colon cancer and think again.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. This year nearly 137,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Worse, more than 50,000 people will die from the disease. In Illinois alone, 5,530 people will be diagnosed and 2,190 will die from colorectal cancer. Don’t be a statistic. Talk with your health care professional about colon cancer screenings and preventive measures you can take to reduce your risk.
Screening can both prevent colorectal cancer and find it early, when it is more treatable, and the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. Experts recommend both men and women over 50 of average risk get screened. There are a variety of screenings available. A colonoscopy, considered the gold standard, allows medical professionals to examine the entire colon and remove any pre-cancerous growths called polyps, before they ever become cancerous. However, more important than the type of screening is making the appointment and keeping it.
For some, screening should start earlier than age 50. People at higher risk for colon cancer may have other health risks or a family history of colon cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease. If you are African American, are obese, have Type II diabetes, smoke or have more than two drinks a day if you are a man or more than one drink a day if you are a women, you may need to be screened earlier. Have the conversation with your health care professional.
No matter your age, you can get started on colon cancer prevention today. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and eat a nutritious diet low in red meats and processed meats (such as bacon or sausage) and full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Do not smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation.
Colorectal cancer is preventable, beatable and treatable. But more people need to get this message and act on it. Talk to your health professional about your risks. Encourage your loved ones to get screened. Visit www.preventcancer.org for more information about colorectal cancer prevention and early detection.
Elizabeth Roskam is the spouse of Representative Peter Roskam and is a member of Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Posted on January 13th, 2014 2:48 pm
The New Year offers a fresh start to make healthier lifestyle choices and focus on how we can reduce our cancer risk. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and a reminder to all women to talk with our health care professionals not just about the causes and risks of cervical cancer, but what we can do to prevent it.
Cervical cancer is a silent killer. Human papillomavirus virus or HPV is the cause of 70 percent of cervical cancers. There are numerous strains of HPV and more than 50 percent of women will contract the virus at some point in their lives without ever knowing it. Two strains of HPV cause most cervical cancer. Patients rarely see symptoms until the later stages. But it can be detected through screening.
Cervical cancer can be screened through a Pap test. While it has been used for more than 60 years, it is still very effective today for detecting pre-cancerous cells and is one of the reasons an annual checkup is vital to prevention. HPV screenings are available to determine if you are at risk of the specific HPV strands that can cause cervical cancer. Most recently, HPV vaccines have been developed for girls ages 9-26, and teen boys up to ages 21 to prevent the spread of the virus. Since the vaccine was approved in 2006, there has already been a 50 percent drop in the spread of HPV in young women.
Medical advances in the past 30 years have been encouraging, seeing a decline in deaths from cervical cancer drop more than 50 percent, but there is still work to be done. It was estimated in 2013 there were 12,340 women diagnosed cervical cancer and 4,030 of them died from the disease in the United States. In Illinois, it was projected that 500 women would be diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. And despite advancements, cervical cancer is still the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. While just being a woman puts us at risk for cervical cancer, you might be at higher risk if you:
• Don’t get regular Pap tests
• Have a family history
• Have multiple sex partners
• Have a history of smoking
• Have used birth control pills for a long time
• Were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
• Have a weakened immune system
• Are overweight or obese
• Have HPV
If you put nothing else on your list of resolutions, do this: learn about cervical cancer and other preventable cancers. Talk to your health care professional about steps you can take to reduce your risk. Share this information with the women in your life. If you would like additional information on cancer prevention, please visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s website at www.preventcancer.org.
ELIZABETH ROSKAM is the spouse of Representative Peter Roskam and is a member of Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Posted on May 8th, 2013 8:38 am
I am pleased to have my work featured at the Glen Ellyn Public Library this month. Read all about it below or click here to see the article:
By Kerry Lester
Elizabeth Roskam, wife of House GOP Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, of Wheaton, is showing her art collection beginning this weekend and continuing through the rest of the month at the Glen Ellyn Public Library. The collection will include a portion of her “Capitol Dome” collection as well as paintings of things she’s seen all over the world.
Roskam's website shows some of her newest paintings and some of the media attention she’s gotten from them. If you've ever visited Rep. Roskam in Washington, he has several of her paintings in his both his Cannon House office and his space inside the Capitol. He even gives out stationary with her “Off to the Dome” painting on the front to visiting Illinoisans.
We were charmed to see, in perusing her website, the painting "My true love" that seved as her 21st wedding present to him. Take a look.
Posted on February 6th, 2013 10:49 am
One of my joys has been painting. The medium that I am concentrating on is “oil on canvas.” As you know Peter and I are good friends with Judy and Kevin McCarthy, the Majority Whip. We were able to surprise Kevin on his birthday with a portrait that I painted of him and Judy together. My goal was to capture their optimism and sincerity. I hope you enjoy the final result.
Posted on October 1st, 2012 4:09 pm
October brings to mind the colors of autumn, the black and orange of Halloween, and pink: the color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time to reflect on strides made in breast cancer prevention and chart a course for the future.
The realm of breast cancer is far different from what it was in 1985, when October officially became Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What once was a silent killer is now a widely talked about, often highly treatable disease. Breast Cancer Awareness month has helped us overcome much of the stigma that was once associated with breast cancer, and women are now encouraged and lauded for sharing their breast cancer stories. As a result, many more women in America today have heard messages emphasizing the importance of early detection and screening, and now know that they should schedule their first mammogram by age 40. We know that the mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased over the past two decades, and we know that there are more treatment options than ever. What we seem to have forgotten, however, is that breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American women.
Today there exists an alarming thought that breast cancer is simply not as big of a concern as it once was, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is estimated that 226,870 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012; in Illinois alone, it is estimated that 9,090 women will be told that they have breast cancer, and 1,650 women will die from the disease. These are still huge numbers, so it is critically important that the American public does not become complacent about breast health.
There are many proactive measures women can take towards detecting breast cancer, including:
Breast Self-Exam (BSE) Every woman should perform a monthly examination of her breasts to check for physical changes. If you are unsure of how to perform a breast self-exam, ask your health care provider to demonstrate and explain the ideal time to conduct one. It is very important for women to become familiar with their breasts and understand what feels normal. Start early, beginning at age 20.
Clinical Breast Exam (CBE): Be sure to ask your health care provider to give you a clinical breast exam each year. The exam consists of checking the breasts for any changes, lumps, or other possible warning signs of breast cancer through physical touch and appearance. You should begin having clinical breast exams in your 20’s and 30’s.
Mammography: By the age of 40, all women should have a mammogram, and it is important to talk to your health care provider about how often the test should be performed. The mammogram is an “x-ray” of the breast and is the most effective method of detecting breast changes that may be cancer, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt.
While every man and woman is at risk for breast cancer, some are at higher risk. Risk factors include a family history of breast cancer, inherited abnormal genes, a previous diagnosis of cancer in one breast, a sedentary lifestyle, and age – women over 50 are more likely to develop breast cancer. Like all cancers, risk for breast cancer can be reduced by leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and not smoking. New drugs have been developed to help prevent breast cancer in high risk patients, so if you believe that you are at a higher risk for breast cancer, please talk to your health care provider.
Survival rates for breast cancer are higher now than they were ten years ago in large part because women are getting tested and catching it early! Please follow the above guidelines, and encourage friends and family to do the same. A cancer diagnosis affects not only the patient and her immediate family, but their entire community of friends, schoolmates, neighbors, colleagues, and service providers. Protect your health this and every month, if not for yourself, then for the community of people who love you.
If you would like additional information on cancer prevention, please visit www.preventcancer.org.
Elizabeth Roskam is a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and the spouse of U.S. Representative Peter Roskam.
Posted on August 27th, 2012 12:00 pm
We first noticed that summer was coming to an end as we took our daughter Frankie to college freshman orientation week. She's reported back - two thumbs up - and now classes are in full swing. Sons Steve and AJ returned to high school today and the fall calendar is filling up fast!
Posted on May 9th, 2012 4:20 pm
Spring has finally arrived and with it comes longer, warmer days and an urge to spend as much time outside as possible. Increased time spent out of doors boosts more than your mood; it can also increase your risk of skin cancer. May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month -- the perfect time to take steps toward protecting yourself and your family.
Over 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, making skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the United States. There are more new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year than cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon combined. All types of skin cancer have been on the rise, including the deadliest form: melanoma. Alarmingly, melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25 to 29 and second most common form for those between 15 to 29 years of age.
In 2012 alone, it is estimated that 76,250 people will be diagnosed with melanoma nationally, 2,460 residing in Illinois. Almost 10,000 people across the country will lose their lives to melanoma this year; 350 of these fatalities will come from Illinois. There are many misconceptions that surround this disease but the truth is that anyone can develop skin cancer. Skin cancer does not discriminate against any race, hair color, or age. While people with fair skin, moles, and a history of sunburns are at higher risk, African American, Hispanic, and Asian populations have a much higher fatality rate from this disease, despite a lower incidence.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, but you don't need to be one of them. Take these necessary precautions to help reduce your risk:
- Avoid or limit sun exposure when the sun is at its peak, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays, with SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days.
- Apply at least one ounce — about a shot glass full — of sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply frequently — at least every two hours if in continuous sunlight or directly after swimming.
- Wear sunglasses treated to absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation, use a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15, and wear tight-weave clothing with long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat.
Remember to also check your skin regularly to notice any changes and follow the ABCDE rule. Be vigilant about any new freckles, moles, or spots that show Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser), and Elevation differences. Those with no history or risk factors need to make annual appointments with their dermatologist or qualified health practitioner for a skin-check; those with risk factors may need visits more frequently. Early detection is crucial. Many types of skin cancer spread rapidly, especially melanoma which is responsible for less than five percent of skin cancer cases but over seventy-five percent of skin cancer fatalities.
By all means, enjoy the time you spend out of doors in the coming months, but be mindful and practice sun safety -- in springtime and all year long. Instill these practices in children and family members. Remember, it's never too early, or too late, to start protecting yourself against skin cancer.
For more information about skin cancer prevention and early detection, visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation's Web site at www.preventcancer.org.
Elizabeth Roskam is a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and the spouse of U.S. Representative Peter Roskam.
Posted on March 19th, 2012 12:43 pm
Back in 2005, Peter asked me to develop a bumper sticker that we would be proud to put on our own cars. My goal was to design something that was clear, simple and easy to recognize, even from a distance. After several versions, we settled on the Roskam Oval and have been pleased that it has stood the test of time - some candidates are even imitating it. If you'd like one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll mail it out to you right away.
Posted on January 30th, 2012 10:22 am
The first time I walked into Giant Steps I could tell it was a special place. It is a place of encouragement and optimism in the midst of the challenges of autism. It is bright, open, dynamic and welcoming.
Giant Steps is a non-profit agency headquartered in Lisle, Illinois whose motto is “Passion for the Possible." In a world that is often dominated by what we can’t do, Giant Steps instead focuses of what people can do.
Autism is a growing problem. According to Giant Steps, one out of every 110 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The trend is increasing and is up as much as three or four fold compared to the 1970s.
As a painter I was particularly drawn to the art therapy and impressed by what I saw. To learn more about Giant Steps and Autism click on www.mygiantsteps.org.
Posted on November 2nd, 2011 2:34 pm
As a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program, I want to fill you in on what's happening this November as we promote Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Check out the article below for details.
Let's start with the numbers. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States - for both men and women. One in 14 Americans will get lung cancer, and it kills more people than breast, prostate, colorectal, leukemia combined. It kills more than twice as many men than prostate cancer and almost twice as many women as breast cancer. Lung cancer accounts for about 14 percent of all new cancer diagnoses and 27 percent of all cancer deaths. These numbers are stunning. So why do we see and hear so little about this particular cancer?
Perhaps it is, in part, because fewer people survive lung cancer to organize the marches, wear the ribbons, and buy the products which donate part of the proceeds to much needed research. In 2011, an estimated 221,130 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and nearly 157,000 will die of the disease. And this year, in the state of Illinois alone it is estimated that 9,210 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and there will be an estimated 6,420 cancer deaths from this disease. There are far too many people impacted by this disease, and far too few survivors to talk about it.
Another factor impacting the public discussion may be the stigma that continues to be attached to lung cancer. How many of us have been told about someone being diagnosed with lung cancer and responded reflexively - "Did they smoke?" It's true, people who smoke and those exposed to second-hand smoke are at higher risk for lung cancer. However, not just smokers get lung cancer, and no one deserves to get cancer. No one.
With respect to the non-smokers: about 65 percent of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or quit decades ago. Risk factors for non-smokers include exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution; exposure to certain toxic substances such as asbestos, arsenic or radon; jobs that expose workers to radiation; and personal or family histories of lung cancer. Clearly, lung cancer is not just a smoker's disease. Anyone can get lung cancer.
What steps can we take to prevent this disease? Avoiding tobacco use remains at the top of the prevention list. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit. Get help if you need it. If you are a smoker or former smoker, early detection is key to reducing lung cancer's death rate. Stay away from second-hand smoke. Work to make your home and community smoke free. Check your home for radon. Take care of yourself: eat lots of fruits and vegetables and be physically active. If you are at risk for lung cancer, talk to your health care professional about available screenings.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness month. Let's make sure that people know the facts about lung cancer, take steps to prevent it, and help it get the attention, resources and research needed to improve understanding and treatment of America's number one cancer killer. For more information, go to www.preventcancer.org.
Elizabeth Roskam is a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Precent Cancer Foundation.
Posted on October 5th, 2011 11:13 am
We celebrated another milestone birthday in the Roskam household! Our daughter turned 18! We celebrated with cake and ice cream and opening of gifts. But the celebration continued and included registering to vote! It’s very exciting to have another Roskam who will be voting. We take the privilege of voting seriously in our home. Brave men and women through out our nation’s history have fought and some died for this privilege. I would encourage everyone to make sure they are registered to vote.
Posted on September 13th, 2011 10:45 am
My husband celebrates his 50th birthday today. Since he is in D.C., we celebrated this special occasion with him this past weekend. I’d like to thank all of the family and friends who came to his birthday celebration. Thank you for all of the birthday card greetings and emails. Thank you for these gifts of encouragement. At home we prepared a wonderful dinner for Peter and enjoyed our family time. Peter is a great Dad, the best husband and we love him very much. Happy Birthday Peter.
Posted on July 11th, 2011 10:04 pm
While visiting my cousin in Calgary, I admired her beautiful garden. What caught my eye, though, was a barrel nestled among the flowers and plants. The barrel was situated under the downspout to collect rain from the roof. My cousin used this water to care for her garden. I loved that concept.
Lo and behold I found that the Conservation Foundation offered rain barrels. So I picked one up a from their headquarters at 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road in Naperville and recruited my Congressman to help me install it.
It's as easy as cutting a downspout, attaching a flexible elbow and placing the rain barrel underneath it. It is sealed, safe and ready for use in the garden by attaching a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the barrel. (thank you Peter!)
This is a great low tech way to save money and conserve water. A fun addition to the garden!
Posted on June 12th, 2011 6:12 pm
Welcome to my blog, Mrs. R’s Corner. I hope you visit the site often for the latest updates. I’ll be sharing a unique perspective on congressional life, campaign happenings and sometimes just fun tidbits from behind the scenes.
For those of you that don’t know me, Peter and I first met and fell in love in Washington D.C. in 1985. Through 23 years of marriage and raising our four children, we’ve had some pretty incredible memories and continue to make more every day. I look forward to sharing some and interacting with you at Mrs. R’s Corner.