Recent research done by the SIU School of Medicine shows that if you live downstate, primarily in the southernmost 16 counties in Illinois, your chances of getting cancer are much higher than they are elsewhere.
Dave Steward, MD, MPH, says that lung cancer is the most prominent in southern Illinois. He also says that while the treatments available are the same, the mortality rate is nearly 40% higher. Every county in southern Illinois ranks above the state and national average.
90-year-old Gerri Collins-Simmons has had lung cancer for a year. She has now gone through 33 treatments to fight the disease. She says that she never was a smoker but her husband smoked three packs a day and that second hand smoke is a real problem.
“You make your bed; you lay in it.” That’s what she says to smokers who refuse to quit and realize the impact they are making on their health.
However, after all of her treatments, her cancer is finally in remission. When asked what keeps her fighting she said, “I don’t want to have it so I’m not going to have it.”