Cancer PreventionWorks spring 2023

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Issue: Spring 2023 INSIDE Page 6 2 CEO’s Corner 2 Foundation highlights 3 Guiding the future of the Foundation: Meet CEO Jody Hoyos 4 You never forget your first time…getting a colonoscopy 6 Early Detection = Better Outcomes 7 Speaking up saved my life: Why testicular cancer shouldn’t be taboo 8 Bringing health and hope to Kenya and Haiti 10 Strengthening health equity in LGBTQ+ communities 11 Step into spring with fundraising


Dear readers,

Did you know the five-year survival rate for many cancers when caught early is at least 90%? The best way to detect cancer early and increase your chances for better outcomes is to get the routine cancer screenings and checkups recommended for you.

That’s why our new signature campaign, Early Detection = Better Outcomes, educates people on the routine cancer screenings they need and encourages them to schedule appointments. Despite the importance of early detection, many people are still not getting the routine screenings they need. When people learn the benefits of early detection, they are much more likely to talk to their health care providers and schedule their screenings. In this edition, you’ll read about our new campaign and discover what resources are available for you and your loved ones to make it easier to check your health.

We’re focused not only on the here and now but also on what’s next—how will our actions shape the future of cancer prevention and early detection? I had the privilege of taking the helm as CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation at the end of last year and am committed to forging a path to a future where cancer is beatable for everyone. Alongside the incredible team at the Foundation, I’m eager to uncover the answer to what’s next, advocating for you and shifting the power from cancer back to the people every day.



From January 8 to 15, a global community of gamers came together for Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), an annual livestreamed video game marathon organized by Games Done Quick. This year they raised $2.6 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, supporting cancer prevention and early detection efforts worldwide.

For its third year in a virtual format, all-star gamers from around the world met online to speedrun (play as fast as possible) their favorite video games. Tens of thousands tuned in to watch the “best of the best” take on their favorite games. All games were played live.

The gaming community showed their support for cancer prevention and early detection efforts while watching the stream on the official Games Done Quick Twitch channel by donating to the Prevent Cancer Foundation throughout the week. Nearly 40,000 donations were made from more than 21,000 individual donors.

In more than a decade of supporting the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Games Done Quick has helped fund research, technology, cancer prevention and early detection education and outreach, and community grants—both in the United States and abroad. Through our global grants program, we are funding cancer prevention and early detection projects in Haiti and Kenya this year, made possible by the generosity of AGDQ supporters. You can read more about these global grants on page 8.

To learn more about AGDQ’s impact on the Prevent Cancer Foundation, visit

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The Prevent Cancer Foundation kicked off the year by revitalizing our mission and committing ourselves to a future world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable for all. With Jody Hoyos taking the helm as CEO, we are investing in new technologies and innovative ideas to make this vision a reality.

We sat down with Jody to discuss her new role, how she got her start in the industry and what’s next for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Your background in the health care environment is extensive. What led you to the Prevent Cancer Foundation?

In college, I had to write out all of my life goals and my path to get there. I stated that by 26 years old, I wanted to be working in a lab to find the cure for cancer. I had no family history of cancer and was an international business major; I was just always drawn to the health care industry and had no idea how to navigate my interest—we did not have the internet when I was in college!

Since then, I’ve come to appreciate every career experience I have had in the health care space. Through management consulting, I was able to better understand the connections between the insurance industry and the health care delivery system, the administrative aspects of providing care in the United States and the financial considerations that ultimately impact us all. From there, I had the opportunity to spend nearly 16 years working at a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the nurses who care for women, newborns and their families. Learning from nurses about the importance of being an advocate for patients and always considering the whole person as you approach an issue was a gift that helped

me find my passion: changing our health system from one focused on disease to one focused on wellness. The Prevent Cancer Foundation is a pioneer in the wellness space, and I have great respect for the vision Bo Aldigé had when she started the Foundation 37 years ago. I wanted to be a part of the future of that work and find the cure for cancer in a way I never dreamed of: prevention.

After four years with the Foundation, what are you most proud of achieving?

There are hundreds of small and large achievements and lessons learned, but what I’m most proud of is being able to share in those moments. We have an incredible team at the Foundation. We’re fueled by people who donate to the Foundation and share their stories as well as by the passion of people working in the health care space who are genuinely interested in creating a world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable. I’m proud to be a part of this community and honored with the trust of leading this organization in partnership with the board.

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Jody Hoyos, as recently seen on the news.

The day I turned 45, my social media feeds were immediately peppered with ads for Cologuard and reminders to get screened for colorectal cancer. It made me giggle a bit—those ad demographics really work—but the seriousness of the message was not lost on me. As someone immersed almost daily in cancer prevention through my work as creative and brand director at the Prevent Cancer Foundation, I know that colorectal cancer is on the rise in younger adults.

When my health care provider mentioned the screening at my annual wellness visit and asked if I would like to have it, I immediately answered yes. She gave me the option to use an athome screening test or to have a colonoscopy. I chose the latter, knowing it gives an opportunity to find precancerous polyps (growths on the wall of the large intestine or rectum) and remove them then and there. I was given a referral and a list of local gastroenterologists—and so began my screening journey.

I found a specialist who was in my insurance network and made an appointment for a consultation. Within a week I met with the practice’s physician assistant (PA), who walked me through the prep and procedure after asking about my medical history and family health history. She kindly answered any lingering questions about what would happen and didn’t skimp on the details of what happens after you drink the prep. All that was left to do was make my appointment for the procedure. I was worried it would be several months out, but they had availability within the next couple of months. With thorough instructions and a prescription in hand for the infamous colonoscopy prep drink, I left feeling confident and ready to take it on.

The week before my procedure, I started to adjust my diet to reduce fiber, berries and nuts— all things that like to stick around in your colon. I gleefully indulged in white bread, mashed potatoes and white rice. Three days before my colonoscopy, I replaced my fruit intake with unsweetened applesauce and canned pears and kept my meals as plain as possible. The day before I was down to clear liquids only, which didn’t get tough until mid-afternoon. I cycled through chicken broth, green Jell-O (red, purple and blue colors can stain the walls of your colon and interfere with your results), apple juice and banana popsicles until it was time to drink my prep. I don’t need to go into details about what happened next—you know—but I will say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I made sure to have a variety of clear beverages containing electrolytes on hand to recover and stay hydrated.

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You never forget your first time… getting a colonoscopy

The following morning, I arrived at the practice a little tired and very thirsty—you have to fast before your procedure. Your provider will give you exact directions about when to begin fasting based on your appointment time. After changing into my gown, I was set up with an IV and wheeled into the procedure room. The doctor made sure to answer any final questions, and then it was time. The anesthesiologist positioned me on my side, began her count and then I was out.

After I woke up in recovery and shook off my grogginess, I was given some juice to drink. Once the nurses were assured I was fully awake and able to walk, I was escorted into an exam room to change and wait for the doctor. The doctor brought the film from my procedure and explained he had found and removed two polyps. I asked him what the situation would have been had I come in at age 50 (the previous recommended age to begin colorectal cancer screening for those of average risk). He said he wouldn’t have been able to treat the polyps during the colonoscopy, and I would have likely needed additional surgery and would have possibly been faced with a cancer diagnosis.

All of this really hit home, and the importance of following screening recommendations was suddenly so personal. My husband picked me up—you must have a ride after the procedure— and I went home to have a snack and rest easy. I had given myself the gift of a better outcome.

While I wasn’t thrilled to learn I had polyps, the relief of knowing I had taken preventive action absolutely squashed that feeling. If you are of screening age or have a family history of colorectal cancer—don’t wait! Meet with your health care provider and make a plan to get screened. Learn more about colorectal cancer and screening options at

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What inspires you to come to work each day?

The smell of toast, the muted laughter coming from workspaces around the office and the entertaining banter in our team messages. The mission will always be the center of what we do, but I’m inspired by the people around me. Energy is contagious, both positive and negative. We choose positive, and after spending time more isolated than I think was mentally healthy during COVID, interacting with people whom I truly enjoy—online and in-person—is a gift I don’t take for granted.

What do you see for the future of the Foundation? What do you hope to accomplish?

At the Prevent Cancer Foundation, we’re dedicated to shifting the power from cancer and giving it to the people. All people. Because empowering all people means leaving no one behind, we are relentless in our pursuit of health equity and access for people in medically underserved communities. We can’t do that alone. The future of the Foundation will be built on innovative partnerships to provide education, advocate for access, reach people in all communities and conduct research to expand our understanding of prevention and early detection. Visit and find @JodyHoyos and @preventcancer on social media to stay up to date with Jody and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. 5

Are you better about staying up to date on your car maintenance than your routine cancer screenings? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.

The Foundation’s first-annual Early Detection Survey released in January 2023 revealed that 65% of Americans of screening age aren’t up to date on at least one routine cancer screening.1 Survey participants cited not knowing they need to be screened (39%), not having symptoms (37%) and inability to afford the cost (31%) as top reasons for not being up to date. According to the data, most Americans are better about filing their taxes, renewing their car tags and getting their car’s oil changed than scheduling routine cancer screenings.

This February, the Prevent Cancer Foundation launched a new signature campaign, “Early Detection = Better Outcomes,” to educate Americans on what recommended cancer screenings and cancer-related vaccinations they need and to encourage them to schedule appointments.

The campaign offers easy-to-use resources to help get you started, such as the screenings you need at every age, tools to find free and low-cost cancer screenings and information on how your family health history can impact your cancer risk. A new interactive tool delivers a personalized screening plan that you can take with you to the doctor’s office. You can even book your next appointment directly on our website.

You don’t need to wait for symptoms to check your health through cancer screening tests. Be proactive—just like you are with your car maintenance. Routine screening can detect cancer early (before signs or symptoms appear). Early detection of cancer can mean less extensive treatment, more treatment options and better chances of survival.

Check your health and discover better outcomes at

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TOOLS TO HELP YOU HAVE BETTER OUTCOMES Visit to utilize several tools that can guide you when making a personal plan for screening. From family history to screening charts, we have you covered!
1 The cancer screenings studied in this survey were for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and testicular cancer.


Why testicular cancer shouldn’t be taboo

My dad is a retired cardiologist, so I always took for granted that if something were seriously wrong with my health, I would know better than to let it linger.

That’s why it never occurred to me that the sharp pain I suddenly felt in my testicle after a night out with my buddies was a crisis that needed serious medical attention. I was only 28—too young for testicular cancer, I thought.

But the pain kept getting worse. I finally mentioned it to my friend Morgan, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor.

“Man, do me a favor and just see your doctor. Do it for me,” he said.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) currently does not recommend regular screening for testicular cancer.1 Had I not listened to my friend, I might not have survived.

I got an appointment with my primary care physician, who was slightly alarmed. He sent me for an ultrasound the next morning. It turned out I had cancer and had to quickly undergo surgery (orchiectomy) to remove the tumor, which was found to be non-seminoma testicular cancer. I also learned that while rare, testicular cancer is one of the more common types of cancer in young men, with the incidence highest among those ages 20-39. My oncologist then recommended a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND)—a procedure to see if the cancer had spread to nearby lymph nodes—due to the risk of metastasis to other parts of the body, like the lungs and brain. Without the RPLND, my oncologist said my risk of recurrence would be 40%.

I reluctantly opted for the RPLND and it was the right choice—seven of 30 lymph nodes were cancerous. I went on to have chemotherapy and even though it was successful, my cancer odyssey wasn’t over.

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1 While the USPSTF does not include screening for testicular cancer in their recommendations, the Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages individuals with testicles to ask their health care provider to examine their testicles as part of their routine physical and to talk to them about testicular self-examination.


The Prevent Cancer Foundation global grants program focuses on global cancer disparities in low- and middle-income countries. Each year, we ask an important question: Where can our resources make the biggest impact right now?

Our search for an answer brought us to two organizations, KILELE Health Association in Kenya and Hope for Haiti in Haiti. With twoyear, $150,000 grants, we are supporting their projects addressing cervical cancer in Kenya and breast and cervical cancer in Haiti by maximizing access to screening and providing cancer prevention and early detection resources where they are limited. In the past five years, the Foundation has supported 20 projects focused on global cancer disparities in low- and middleincome countries.

well-developed infrastructure, especially health services. The association aims to reach 40,000 Kenyans by engaging with the community and providing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, cervical cancer screenings and treatment. These cervical cancer initiatives are intended to be replicated in other countries with hardto-reach regions.

The KILELE Health Association, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is tackling cervical cancer through its project, “Thamani Yetu - Engaging Communities to Improve Cervical Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.” Thamani Yetu means “Our Value” in Swahili, and the goal of this initiative is to restore value back to individuals in the Mbeere community through screening and educational health interventions. This community is in a predominately rural, arid region and lacks

Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in Haiti, yet sufficient screening is not widely available. Hope for Haiti’s project, “Improving Awareness, Screenings, and Treatment for Cervical and Breast Cancer in Haiti," also focuses primarily on community-level initiatives.

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"Nine women die of cervical cancer every day in Kenya. This highly preventable and treatable type of cancer robs our communities of mothers, daughters, sisters and caregivers; deprives the business community of colleagues and employees; and denies the country a key contributor to the economy."
-Benda Kithaka Project Director and Executive Director KILELE Health Association

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They will provide 34,000 free cervical and breast cancer screenings, organize biannual education campaigns and train 35 nurses and 45 community health workers to reduce mortality and morbidity rates.

With support from the Prevent Cancer Foundation, both projects will contribute to our goal to reduce cancer deaths by 40% by 2035.

These global cancer prevention grants are made possible by Awesome Games Done Quick, an annual livestreamed video game marathon organized by Games Done Quick to raise funds for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

For more information on the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s global grants program, visit programs/our-global-reach.

I’ve had five hospitalizations related to intestinal complications from the RPLND and eventually had surgery in 2015 to remove adhesions (scarlike tissue), plus another intervention due to side effects in both hips from the steroids used during chemotherapy. It helped, but I still have a lot of pain and can no longer play tennis, a hobby I loved. Eventually, I will need hip replacement surgery, and I have several abdominal scars that took me a while to accept and not feel self-conscious about.

Even though I have lived cancer-free since 2007, my mental health suffered from all the stress. I felt like once I was given the “all clear,” I just got spit out onto the street. No one prepared me for how difficult it would be to have my body fail so often following treatment. Unfortunately, I dealt with those feelings the wrong way and sometimes drank way too much.

Eventually, I found a peer support group and turned things around. I quit drinking and faced the pain of the trauma I had been through. I realized drinking alcohol—which is also linked to increased risk of cancer—was a waste of the second chance I’d been given.

It’s been nearly 20 years since my “all clear” from cancer, but there has been relatively little advancement in detecting and treating testicular cancer. For that reason, I have helped raise almost $50,000 for various cancer organizations. I want to see change! I am especially passionate about prevention and survivorship and working on starting my own nonprofit to ease the fear and pain for others going through similar situations to what I experienced.

I recently resigned from my high-stakes corporate job and started working as a consultant for public schools, which has filled my life with more joy. I know that nothing in life is guaranteed. I also know now that it’s better to use our time on Earth to help others—and that when your best buddy tells you to get that pain checked out, do it right away!

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer and what you can do to reduce your risk, visit 9


Health disparities—the differences in health outcomes across specific populations—are linked with economic, social and environmental factors. The LGBTQ+ community faces unique barriers when accessing the health care system, which impacts both preventive and essential care. This can result in disparities in cancer risk and treatment for LGBTQ+ people. That’s why the Prevent Cancer Foundation is committed to supporting projects dedicated to healthy equity by increasing cancer prevention and early detection in LGBTQ+ communities.

In December 2022, we announced a new partnership with the National LGBT Cancer Network to offer current and past Foundation-funded community grantees a learning intensive focused on addressing LGBTQ+ health equity and improving understanding of how to engage and include LGBTQ+ populations in community cancer prevention and education.

This January, we kicked off our first learning intensive, Strengthening Health Equity in LGBTQ+ Communities, where participants learned about gender identity and sexual orientation; LGBTQ+ demographics and data collection; community barriers to cancer prevention, screening and care; and strategies to implement change through best and promising practices.

What can your health care or patient advocacy organization do to promote health equity for the LGBTQ+ population? Start by investing time and resources in building support for cancer screening and control in LGBTQ+ communities. You can “build welcome” by:

• Thinking about the language you use in educational resources, websites and physical spaces

• Displaying inclusive materials, non-discrimination policies, and rainbow and transgender flags

• Including the option to share pronouns on staff badges

• Providing gender-inclusive restrooms

These steps can help create a welcoming environment and eliminate some of the barriers that keep LGBTQ+ people from accessing the preventive services and care they need.

For more information on building welcome, visit

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Cancer touches nearly every one of us, but it does not affect everyone equally.


As winter wanes and the weather warms, it’s the perfect time to get outside and get moving. Engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week can make a big difference in your general health and well-being, and adding exercise to your routine can reduce stress, increase energy, boost your immune system, control your weight and reduce your risk of cancer. And fitness is not just good for your health; it’s also a great way to raise money for cancer prevention and early detection!

Making a difference doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking; fundraise your way by turning everyday events and activities—from cycling to counting your steps—into events benefitting what matters most to you. Additionally, these events can be a great way to honor a loved one’s legacy or personal cancer story. You can raise money by doing jumping jacks or pushups for every dollar donated or by hosting a golf or volleyball tournament with friends. Any way that you like to get moving can be used to fund cancer prevention and early detection.

Connecting with your community will make your event as successful as possible, so be sure to promote your fundraiser online through social media. Fortunately, there are lots of different tools today that make fitness-themed fundraising easier than ever. Activity trackers (like Apple watches and Fitbits) help you measure and share your progress, and livestreaming allows donors to share in the experience with you (which can make them more likely to give).

Fundraisers foster stronger personal connections to our mission and among participants working together to support cancer prevention and early detection. These activities are a great way to bond with friends, engage your community and make a difference in the world all at the same time. Matt Milner, an avid cyclist, has done this since 2016 through an annual bike ride called “Champion Awareness” to honor cancer survivors and increase awareness of cancer prevention and early detection. “We are proud to be teaming with such a great organization to raise money to support their vision and help expand the dialogue on prevention and early detection strategies.” he said.

This spring, consider using your favorite form of fitness to help us at the Prevent Cancer Foundation build a world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable for all.

To start your own fundraiser, visit 11

Find this issue and more at


Prevent Cancer Foundation®

333 John Carlyle St., Ste. 635, Alexandria, VA 22314

Toll-Free: (800) 227-2732 Main: (703) 836-4412



Cancer PreventionWorks is published by the Prevent Cancer Foundation®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and early detection of cancer.

All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

333 John Carlyle Street, Suite 635 Alexandria, VA 22314


May 24, 2023

Prevent Cancer Dialogue

Virtual Summit 1: Addressing CommunityLevel Disparities in Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

June 28, 2023

Prevent Cancer Dialogue

Virtual Summit 2: Harnessing the Power of Innovation to Improve Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

September 27, 2023

Annual Gala

For more information visit


You never forget your first time…getting a colonoscopy

Strengthening health equity in LGBTQ+ communities

Bringing health and hope to Kenya and Haiti

Step into spring with fundraising

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