The Commonwealth Cancer Association will get nearly $1 million from the CNMI Legislature that will be dispersed among over 160 cancer patients.
During the Oral Cancer Awareness Month proclamation signing last Wednesday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center, CCA board chair Bo Palacios said the Legislature is reportedly in the process of allotting a little over $900,300 to CCA from the tax collected from tobacco products. The bill is currently with the Senate.
“We had a huge spike in cancer incidents in 2017…and cancer isn’t just something that you go to the doctor once…It’s something you spend years fighting so we spend years supporting the patients fighting cancer,” he said.
According to Palacios, the association currently has 161 clients and the number just continues to grow.
“Because of the enormous number of patients with cancer, we’re kind of taking a look at how we can budget these funds best to make sure we are as fair as possible to each and every one of our clients,” he said.
“The number is changing; just in the last month we had 15 new clients…that probably the most we’ve had…” he added.
In 2016 to 2017 alone, Palacios said the association saw an increase of 65 percent in the number of cancer patients in the CNMI.
The CCA runs their programs and offers assistance through donations and fundraisers. If the amount of cancer patients only continues to grow, the associations won’t have enough funding to assist them all. CCA is hopeful that the bill allocating over $900,000 to it would help in the battle against cancer in the CNMI.
The CCA does not offer actual cancer treatment but they provide food vouchers and fund amenities needed by cancer patients such as wheelchairs, beds, etc.