Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Wellness Corner

We are proud to announce our new podcast series. We thought it appropriate to kick off this new
Hope Through Grace feature during the month of March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Every week, we will post a new audio segment surrounding the overall topic of "Cancer Prevention through Healthy Lifestyle Habits." Along the way, though, you will pick up some colon cancer facts that you can use in your daily life to keep you and those you care about healthy. So please join us on this journey of wellness. We're glad to have you!

HTG Wellness Corner Episode 1: "Colon Cancer is Preventable"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Join us on our Journey to Prevent Colon Cancer

by Grace Butler, Ph.D., Founder/CEO of Hope Through Grace

Colon cancer is back in the headlines with the recent death of beloved Disco icon Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. We offer our sincerest and deepest condolences to his family. This tragedy shows that colon cancer can strike anyone, regardless of station in life. Colon cancer does not care how much money you make, what kind of job you have, what kind of car you drive or whether you have insurance.

I founded Hope Through Grace to help people understand that this is a highly preventable disease. As a matter of fact, colon cancer is said to be 95% preventable if recommended measures are undertaken. I am deeply saddened whenever I hear of a life lost to colon cancer. I wonder "why"? Were they not informed or were they informed but chose not to act? I have dedicated the last decade of my life to spreading this message. And I will keep spreading it as long as I am able to do so. So bear with me now as I talk about the facts surrounding colon cancer.

The colon is another word for the large intestine. Colorectal cancer means cancer of the colon and/or rectum. Colon cancer happens when small benign growths called polyps get larger and turn into cancerous lumps. Eventually those cancerous lumps grow out of the colon and travel to other places throughout the body. This process is called metastasis, when cancer is really at an advanced stage. But in many cases, screening methods can catch these growths at the early stage when they are still benign polyps.

The screening method considered the gold standard is colonoscopy, in which a doctor uses a long tube, the colonoscope, with a video camera attached to examine the entire colon which is about six to eight feet long. During the colonoscopy, doctors will remove polyps, preventing them from ever turning into cancer.

The key, though, is to get the test done at the recommended age of 50, and earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer. Because the death rate from colon cancer is highest among African Americans, the recommendations for blacks is to have a baseline colonoscopy at age 45. If the results are normal, generally the test does not need to be repeated for another 7-10 years.

I have heard many comments over the years from African American men, in particular, that they don't want anyone "looking at that part of their body." But what they fail to understand is that if colon cancer develops, many people will be looking all over their bodies during treatment and recovery!

I had a colleague say to me years ago when I founded Hope Through Grace, that she lost her husband to "male vanity," because he refused to get a colonoscopy due to the intimate nature of the procedure. I shudder to think of lives being lost due to male vanity; lives that could be saved by getting a colonoscopy. Don't let embarrasment keep you from getting your colon checked!

If a colonoscopy is not covered by your insurance or you don't have insurance, jump online and do a little research into community programs that may help cover some or all of the costs. After all, isn't the time spent on research and getting the procedure done worth your life?

We have an enormous task ahead of us. We must become better educated about the disease, how it can be prevented and what every adult person in our communities can do to remove colorectal cancer from the odious distinction of "second leading cancer killer of men and women." Together, we can "eliminate colorectal cancer through prevention and early detection," which is the mission of Hope Through Grace.

Hope Through Grace, Inc. is here for those who need or desire a bit of motivation to get started on the colon educational journey. Join Hope Through Grace at the Texas Black Expo, held at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center, on June 16-17th, where we will present an exhibit called The Adventure Colon. This is a 20-foot long walk through a replica of a human colon, where guests will be able to see the differences between a healthy and a diseased colon. It will be highly educational and a lot of fun for the whole family. Visit our website for more information: Or you may call us at 713.668.HOPE (4673).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Singer Robin Gibb's Colon Cancer Diagnosis leads to more awareness of need for early screening

The story of The Bee Gees Robin Gibb, who has colorectal cancer and recently woke up after a 12 day coma is incredible as it is heartlifting; we look forward to hearing more about his story. In the meantime, here at Hope Through Grace, we continue our mission of offering eligible Harris County residents the chance to prevent colon cancer with a low cost or no cost colonoscopy.

Colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among adults in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone aged 50 years and older were screened, as recommended. According to The State of Health Houston/Harris County 2012, more than 40% of residents remain unscreened for this highly preventable and curable disease. Hope Through Grace, Inc., (HTG) wants to change that by removing financial barriers that prevent people from getting the baseline colonoscopy.  Currently, this offer is afforded to at risk Harris County residents without health insurance.  To determine full eligibility, individuals need to contact us by phone (713.668.HOPE) for a brief consultation.

Colon cancer can be prevented through the screening method known as colonoscopy, which is considered the “gold standard” of colon screening. During a colonoscopy, when polyps are detected in the colon they can be removed, preventing cancer from developing.

Hope Through Grace has offered financial support for the baseline screening colonoscopy to dozens of people over the last decade; many of whom were found to have lesions.   Additionally, we conduct health education forums so that people will have a better understanding of how they might lower their risk while at the same time they will develop more healthy lifestyles.
Please call us at 713.668.HOPE (4673) to determine whether you are eligible. Remember, a colonoscopy could save your life!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Awards and Recognition

Hope Through Grace, Inc.

Member – National Colorectal Cancer Round Table (NCCRT), 2010 to date.
Member – Director’s Consumer Liaison Group, National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2006 – 2010.
Cited for testimony “Living Beyond Cancer: Finding a New Balance” President’s Cancer Panel,  National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2003.

Grace L. Butler, Ph.D.

Founder and CEO, Hope Through Grace, Inc.  A non-profit 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to eliminate colorectal cancer, 2001 – to date.
Professor Emeritus – University of Houston, 2001 to date.
Featured, “Colon Cancer Survivor Makes a Difference in Her Community” The Colon Examiner, American Cancer Society, 2005.
Member – Initial Review Group, Scientific Review Committee, Subcommittee A-Cancer Centers, National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2004-2006.
Honoree, “Encourage the Fight,” Starlight Gala, benefiting the American Cancer Society, 2003.
Recipient, “Partners in Courage Award,” American Cancer Society (ACS), Houston, TX 2001 .
Member, “Action Plan on Colorectal Cancer for the State of Texas” Steering Committee, Texas Cancer Council, 2000.
Member, American Leadership Forum, Class XII, Houston, TX, 1994-to date.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Protect the Colorectal Cancer Control Program!

Leaders in Congress are working this week and next week to finalize the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills. The House has recommended cutting the overall budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by 20%! A majority of programs at the agency would lose funding including – potentially, the Colorectal Cancer Control Program. Contact your Representative and Senators now and ask them to protect investment in this life-saving program.
NOW is the time to contact your representative and your two senators and have your voice heard. Take action-- complete the form below then help us spread the word.

CDC Says Black Men Have Highest Rates of Colorectal Cancer

Posted: 31 Mar 2011 04:02 AM PDT
In 2007, 62 out of every 100,000 black men in the United States were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, the highest rate of colorectal cancer of any US group.
Overall, men were more likely to get colorectal cancer than women — almost 53 of every 100,000 American males compared to 40 per 100,000 females.
Reporting colorectal cancer incidence rates for 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged regular colorectal cancer screening for all average risk adults 50 years and older to cut deaths from colorectal cancer.
According to the CDC, 142,672 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2007, including 72,755 men and 69,917 women.
Incidence rate means how many people out of a given number get a disease in a given year.  Colorectal cancer incidence rates are reported per 100,000 people.
Across all groups, 52.7 of every 100,000 men were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2007 and 39.7 per 100,000 women.
The incidence rates per 100,000 men were:
§ Blacks: 62.0
§ Whites: 51.5
§ Hispanics: 44.8
§ Asian/Pacific Islanders: 39.7
§ American Indians/Alaska Native: 33.5
For women,  incidence rates were
§ Blacks: 47.1
§ Whites: 38.5
§ Hispanics: 32.6
§ Asian/Pacific Islanders: 31.1
§ American Indians/Alaska Native: 28.8
The CDC estimates that as many as 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women age 50 and over were screened routinely.
Data comes from the United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2007 Cancer Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Finding Your Inspiration

Finding Your Inspiration

Pottery, Poetry and Patios
Posted by Mary Miller on March 26th, 2011
What do they have in common? All are forms of creative expression that cancer patients have used to “add life to their days,” wrote oncologist Evan Lipson, MD, of Johns Hopkins University in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (online edition Feb. 7, 2011).
One of his patients, Mike, was building a stone patio in his backyard because it was “therapeutic, physical, and something I could control and have a sense of accomplishment.”
Among the “unique and remarkable ways that people living with cancer make the most of their time,” Lipson has observed several themes: exercising, leaving a legacy, activism, building relationships, giving. And the most powerful, he thinks, is “creating something.”
It can be painting, pottery, gardening, writing—any outlet to express unspeakable feelings, to get a brief vacation from the roller-coaster of cancer, and/or to leave something behind.
Several studies have shown tangible physical results—improved lung function in patients having asthma; decreased pain in rheumatoid arthritis; and in a 2010 review of 12 studies in cancer patients, improved psychological states and perceived quality of life.
In his own patients, Lipson wrote, he has seen them find “relaxation, solace, calm, catharsis, and healing.” He added, “What you end up creating is not important. What matters is that the process feels good.” If it doesn’t feel good, it’s fine to move on to something else. Instead of judging the outcome according to some external standard, Lipson said, “A project is worthwhile because it comes from inside you.”
Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology (online edition Feb. 7, 2011)
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, where have you found your inspiration to keep going everyday? We would like to hear your stories.