Cancer Groups Respond To Edwards and Snow Diagnosis

Tuesday, March 27th 2007, 9:16 pm
By: News On 6

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow says the cancer he thought he had beaten is back, and has spread to his liver. It was just last week when Snow got emotional as he wished Elizabeth Edwards well in her fight with cancer. Snow successfully beat colon cancer two years ago. Snow and Edwards are far from alone when it comes to battling cancer. Plenty of people in Green Country are also dealing with the disease. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports Tulsa cancer survivors say while tragic, Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow's bouts with cancer may help raise awareness of the disease nationwide.

It was less than a year ago that Loretta Deiter won her battle with breast cancer. She now heads a cancer support group at the Christ United Methodist Church. Dick Shroeder's life has also been profoundly affected by cancer. A co-chair of the support group, while he has never had the disease, his father, mother and father-in-law were killed by it.

Support group members say that even though the meetings take place only once a month for a few hours, they still make all the difference.

"You get hope. You get a sense of belonging so that you know you're not out there alone doing this," said Deiter.

"We are here for those who do want to get together, who do want to talk, and do need to talk with somebody," said Shroeder.

The American Cancer Society, which often steers patients to support groups, says they offer a way for those overwhelmed with the disease to cope.

"A lot of people do find the support groups very helpful, to actually interact with people who have been there and done that," said Katie Gragg of American Cancer Society.

Deiter and Shroeder hope Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow will seek the help of support groups while dealing with their diagnosis. They also offer words of hope. They say because of advancements in chemotherapy and other treatments, more people are surviving cancer or living longer with it. The pair believes that while Snow and Edwards' cases are tragic, they may encourage more people diagnosed with the disease to seek help.

"Any of these people who have come forth and said "I have this", it's not hidden, it allows the normal people, the everyday people to say I have it, where can I go to get help," Shroeder said.

The Christ United Methodist Support Group meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Anyone who has been affected by cancer is invited to attend. For more information, you can call 747-8601.