IDAHO FALLS, ID – Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center is determined to keep area residents from being part of the 562,000 Americans – about 1,500 people a day – expected to die of cancer this year. EIRMC is offering free or reduced-cost cancer screenings Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cancer Center at 3245 Channing Way.

Free screenings are slated for breast, skin, colon and oral cancer, along with reduced-cost screenings for prostate cancer. (Prostate screenings are only from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.). Participants also can get a risk factor analysis for cervical, ovarian and other gynecological cancers. Required pre-registration can be done by calling 535-4226.

The annual event is expected to draw around 250-300 participants who will receive more than 600 screenings. Since EIRMC began the screenings in 2002, the event has drawn increasingly larger crowds.

“Participants usually sign up for two to four screenings at the one-stop-cancer-screen-all event and are always surprised at how easily they move through the process,” said Karen Fawcett, cancer program coordinator.

“About 30 percent of the participants will seek treatment to follow up on concerns raised at the screening,” she said. “Most come away with peace of mind from being informed about their own health.”

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 1.4 million new cases of cancer (not including skin cancers) are expected to be diagnosed in 2009. More than one million new cases of skin cancer are projected for diagnosis this year.

Scientific evidence suggests that about one-third of the nearly 562,000 cancer deaths estimated for 2009, will be related to nutrition, physical inactivity, and obesity, making them quite preventable. The ACS further estimates 169,000 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use.

“Early detection is definitely the key,” said Fawcett. “Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening account for about half of all new cancer cases.”