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Forum identifies cancer care needs, services

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Several members of the island's medical community along with non-profit organizations and other groups and businesses that provide services to cancer patients attended a forum this past weekend to identify what services are currently being provided and what needs to be done to fill the gaps. It was a meeting aimed at finding gaps in providing services to help cancer patients on Guam.

One of the issues brought up was legislation needed to provide a more reliable funding stream into the Cancer Trust Fund that can't be tapped for other needs like MIP. Terry Cuabo with Guam Cancer Care told KUAM News, "My concern is there should be a law that sets aside that monies specifically for cancer trust fund it would be automatic we shouldn't need the legislature to appropriate every budget cycle and hands off."

Another issue raised was the escalating costs for cancer care, treatment and medication.    Non-profit organizations like the Edward M. Calvo Cancer Foundation said efforts should also focus on prevention. EMC's Marie Calvo Monger said, "One of the most disheartening things we see, is a lot of grants that come across our desk is when cancer is already terminal and a vast number of them go to is funeral expenses. I think that with early detection, prevention awareness campaigns we can tackle that so our existence is based on the care people need and improving the quality of life and seeing success stories."

Since its inception in 2004, the Calvo Cancer Foundation has issued close to one million dollars in grants to cancer patients. Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr., who chairs the Committee on Health, recognized organizations like EMC and the American Cancer Society for their work. He said, "That's the only way really we're going to help our people as Tess said sometimes we can't do everything because the resources aren't always there form the government. It's organizations like yours that come and pick up that slack and provide that help, so thank you."

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