According to the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI) an estimated 1.8 million people were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2020.  Mohawk Valley resident David Rodriguez is one of those currently battling the disease.

Helping him win the fight is Dr. Manzurul Sikder from Slocum Dickson Medical Group.  Dr. Sikder joined Rodriguez on "WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning" to talk about the importance of testing and early screening.

There are approximately 17 million cancer survivors in the United States and, according to the NCI, that number is expected to climb to just over 22 million within the next ten years.  Dr. Sikder says in order for that to happen Americans need to follow up on symptoms as soon as they feel like something is wrong.  Basically, listen to your body.

"Remember," Dr. Sikder says, "your body has a lot of mechanisms to fight cancer cells...We do not develop cancer more frequently because your body has mechanisms to fight it....Keep checking, do the screening tests..."

A positive diagnosis, he says, must be paired with a positive attitude.  As difficult as it is to maintain a happy demeanor after receiving a life-changing diagnosis, Dr. Sikder says it is absolutely critical.  He says go to treatment and fight the urge to stay inside and do nothing.

Those who have been diagnosed with cancer usually do not need the reminders to keep up with screening.  "As one of my patients once said," Dr. Sikder noted, "once you have cancer you start chasing shadows."


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