Hixon: Small can be good, too

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, November 15, 2005

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Dr. William Hixon is not a native of Brewton nor does he even reside in Brewton. But he is to whom many area residents have turned in times of illness.
Dr. Hixon and his partner, Dr. William Weaver, operate radiology departments in Foley, Monroeville, and Brewton and are on staff at Baptist Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. It is their job to see patients who need radiation therapy in the fight against cancer.
Dr. Hixon, who comes to Brewton twice a week to see and treat patients at the Southwest Alabama Community Cancer Center, has seen some of the worst cases, and some that seem to have been an inspiration to him.
Every year attention is drawn toward those who smoke and the need to stop smoking on the third Thursday of November, when The Great American Smoke Out points out the dangers and statistics of smoking. On Nov. 17, 2005, The Great American Smoke Out, once again, will try to persuade smokers to stop smoking, for themselves and for their families.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and 87 percent of those cases can be attributed to smoking. There are 45 million people in the country who smoke. More people die of lung cancer than of colon cancer, breast cancer and Prostate cancer together. In 2005, there will be about 172,570 new cases of lung cancer in the United States and approximately 163,510 will died of the disease. Some of these will be young people. Every single day nearly 4,400 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 take up smoking.
Smoking leaves some very potent drugs in the body of the smoker. A cigarette contains about 4,000 chemicals, many which are poisonous. Some of the worst ones are nicotine, arsenic, methane, ammonia, cadmium, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, butane and hydrogen cyanide. Every time a smoker inhales, small amounts of these materials get into the blood stream. Not only does smoking give one the higher possibility of having lung cancer, it is a disease which attacks almost every organ in the body. This means that, not only does a patient have the good possibility of getting lung cancer if he smokes, but he could also have a problem with his heart. Smoking can cause heart problems with stokes and high blood pressure.
Chewing tobacco is as bad as smoking and in some ways even more dangerous to one's health. Chewing tobacco causes sores and white patches in the mouth and in some cases may cause cancer of the mouth, gums and throat, not to mention the smell and discoloration. Although one hears more about smoking and cancer, one chew of tobacco has 15 times more nicotine than a cigarette, making the possibility of addiction even higher.
Dr. Hixon believes that Brewton has one of the top radiation departments in this area. They have technology that is equal and some cases better than larger hospitals in Pensacola and Mobile.
One of his patients, Dr. Ronald Peters, was just completing his treatment and could not praise the radiation center or Dr. Hixon enough.
Bill Hixon was born and raised in Pensacola until he was 15 years old when his family moved to Baldwin County. He attended schools in Pensacola and graduated from Foley High School in 1982. He was a typical boy growing up close to the coast. He liked to fish, play tennis, swim and surf.
Hixon still lives in Baldwin County and is on staff at Sacred Heart and Baptist Hospitals in Pensacola. He said he saw a great need for a radiation oncology center here in Brewton. There were plenty of patients and they had to travel to get treatments.
He lives at Magnolia River in Baldwin County with his wife, Allison, and his three sons, William (7), Jack (5) and Sellers (almost 2). They live on the river and one of his favorite things to do is to night fish off the pier with his sons. He says he likes to water ski, tubing, and fishing in tournaments for large fish. He likes to watch his kids play soccer.

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