Actions speak louder than words

Published 5:43 am Thursday, October 11, 2007

By Staff
Some people talk a good game. Others play a good game.
It’s the person who plays a good game when it comes to helping others who makes a difference.
Dr. Steven Andreaus, a Raleigh dentist, is one of those people. Andreaus is riding his bicycle from Murphy to Manteo to raise the public’s awareness of oral cancer. Andreaus arrived in Washington on Wednesday and was scheduled to leave today to complete his six-day, 750-mile trip from the state’s mountains to the coast.
The dentist’s bicycle trip is one of those selfless acts that will make a difference. And even if only one person’s life is positively affected because of Andreaus’ ride across North Carolina, that’s making a difference.
Although just as deadly and devastating as lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer, oral cancer isn’t as well known by the public. Andreaus wants to change that, and so he should.
According to Andreaus, he was inspired to take his trip by his friendship with Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor and seven-time winner of cycling’s Tour de France. Andreaus also said he was motivated to take the trip by Butch Davis’ oral cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Davis is the head football coach for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where a school of dentistry is located.
During his ride across the state, Andreaus planned to meet with dentists to urge them to continue their efforts to detect oral cancer.
Because it is often detected late and treatment may result in disfigurement, oral cancer is called a “closet cancer,” according to Andreaus’ press release. When it comes to fighting oral cancer, survival numbers are not improving. One American dies every hour from oral cancer.
The information and statistics included in that press release are attention-getters. Some of those bits of information and statistics follow:
And if one believes he or she is not at risk for getting oral cancer because he or she doesn’t use tobacco products, consume alcohol or abuse pharmaceuticals, that person better think again.
Nearly one-third of oral cancer victims exhibit no obvious contributing factors, according to data regarding oral cancer.
Andreaus is doing more than raising awareness of oral cancer and delivering a message about it. He’s trying to save lives. The way he’s going about raising that awareness and delivering that message may be a bit unorthodox.
If being unorthodox saves lives, perhaps more unorthodox acts are needed.
As for recognizing Andreaus’ effort, the best thing someone could do would be to include an examination for oral cancer as part of his or her “to do” list each year.
It’s admirable that this dentist is doing more than just paying lip service when it comes to fighting oral cancer.