Cathy Jeffries is an enrolled member of Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She got her first colonoscopy at the age of 40, due to a family history of colorectal cancer. Because she has a family history of colorectal cancer Cathy must receive a colonoscopy, every five years.
Cathy lost her father Frank, to colorectal cancer at the young age of 52. When she learned about her father’s cancer diagnosis, she was very shocked and scared for her him. Cathy along with her four sisters and two brothers helped care for their father during his battle with colorectal cancer. She and her siblings would prepare his meals and also offer their father back and leg massages.
The community of Dupree, South Dakota also came together to support Frank, by hosting a bake sale at the community gym. Proceeds raised from the bake sale helped support Frank’s travel expenses. Frank received most of his treatment in Mobridge, South Dakota; which is a 90 minute drive from Dupree, South Dakota.
Cathy remembers her sister Debbie crawling under their father’s mobile home to repair damaged pipes. She was able to do the repairs through the guidance and direction of their father, who was too ill to do the repairs himself.
The nurses in Mobridge, SD were very compassionate and helpful throughout Frank’s cancer. Cathy remembers them saying how lucky Frank was to have his family’s support. Cathy said, “He was never alone, someone was always there with him.”
Frank lost his battle with colorectal cancer in 1982. Cathy’s advice for anyone caring for somebody who is battling colorectal cancer is “Find out all you can about it. Especially the diet, I think that is really important. Be with them and stand-by them.”
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices. Exercise regularly. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Keep a high-fiber and low-fat diet. Maintain a healthy weight. And limit tobacco and alcohol use.