Gov. Ralph DLG Torres yesterday signed two proclamations declaring September as Childhood and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. John Blanco Jr. and Florence Antonio read each of the proclamations in a simple ceremony at the Governor’s Office conference room on Capitol Hill.
Blanco Jr. was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2007 but is now in remission, while Antonio is a prostate cancer survivor.
The Commonwealth Cancer Association, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Division of Public Health Services, and other human and social services collaborated in declaring September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Thousands of children, in the U.S. mainland, are courageously battling pediatric cancer each year. Leukemia (blood cell cancer), brain, and central nervous system are the most common types of cancer that are diagnosed among children that are under 17, the proclamation read.
Based on statistics, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and solid brain tumors (glioma medulloblastoma) are the two most common kinds of leukemia and brain cancer in kids in this age.
Here in the CNMI, CHCC reported a five-year average of 3.6 newly diagnosed cancer cases for children under 17. There were a total of 18 cancer cases that were diagnosed from 2007 to 2011 with 33 percent of it leukemia.
September this year is also National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with the said type as the most common among men. A total of 230,000 men in the U.S. learned they have prostate cancer with 30,000 succumbing to the disease since 2010.
Torres thanked Blanco and Antonio for their presence in surviving childhood and prostate cancers. “Cancer has always been a touchy subject for all of us and in the U.S. there are different types of cancer.”
“We thank you both [Blanco and Antonio] for your courage in coming up here to read the proclamations and to let us see the struggles that you have overcome and that success that you have done,” said Torres.
“Thank you also to the Commonwealth Cancer Association and other partners for continuously promoting awareness. The community will always support and participated in your tireless effort in raising awareness.”
CCA vice president Magdalena C. Camacho said they have always been collaborating with various agencies and businesses that help them in raising awareness in different types of cancers. “Thank you to all who help us in our ongoing efforts for education.”
“We collaborate with other agencies and business. They assist us in all of our endeavors as we continue to educate everyone in the community,” added Camacho, who is also a cancer survivor.
CCA has already tied blue ribbons for prostate cancer and gold ribbons for childhood cancer in parts of the island and yesterday had a roadside waving at the intersection of CHCC, Middle Road, and American Memorial Park with Torres also attending.
A Bike and 5K For Life will be held in the morning of Sept. 24 and on Sept. 30, in cooperation with Best Sunshine International, Ltd., CCA will have a Shine the Light event.
CCA is also collaborating with laboratories and healthcare providers on Saipan in providing prostate screening for men. They are also scheduled to go to Kagman, Marianas, and Saipan Southern high schools for presentations on cancer prevention and will guest in radio shows at KKMP and Power 99.
Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Richard B. Seman, Governor’s special assistant for Women’s Affairs Doris Reyes Drew also attended the proclamation signing that was also supported in part by Tan Holdings, the Community Guidance Center, and the Triathlon Association of the CNMI.