Guam News - Community Events
Guam - Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation board member Art Mesa, a Vietnam Veteran and 2010 Guam Veteran’s Advocate of the Year, reported during a Foundation Community Outreach and Education Committee meeting last week, that all Veterans are entitled to full benefits as a result of exposure to Agent Orange for twelve illnesses including prostate cancer.
“A Veteran who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange,” said Mesa. “U.S. Veteran’s Affairs had identified twelve illnesses to be service-connected during this time period, including prostate cancer, which automatically entitles Veterans with full benefits associated with any tests or procedures related to prostate cancer,” added Mesa. “Considering the high rate of prostate cancer on Guam, I feel it is important for our Veteran community and all members of our community, to become more aware of early detection methods and information available to them about prostate cancer,” added Mesa.
The Foundation invited to the committee meeting last week, representatives of the Guam Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition, to express the Foundation’s gratitude for the work of the coalition, and to discuss cancer related programs in which the Foundation and coalition can work collaboratively with financial support from the Foundation.
The Foundation recently received a $10,000 donation from a family that dedicated the donation to their father who passed away from cancer, with the donation earmarked for cancer education and prevention programs. During the committee meeting, Foundation board Chairman Peter Sgro, a recent cancer survivor of prostate cancer, applauded the work of the Guam Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition, committed the Foundation’s support towards collaborative efforts and committed $10,000 which will also be earmarked to cancer prevention and education programs.
During the committee meeting, Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares shared her families journey with cancer when her son who is now a cancer survivor, was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4. Mayor Savares expressed the value of a booklet recently released by the Coalition titled “Guam Cancer Passport-A Guide to Survivorship and Care.” Mayor Savares also expressed support for the work of the Guam Cancer Control Coalition and the recognized that the more we can encourage our community to speak openly about cancer and to not hesitate to reach out for support, the greater the likelihood discussions about cancer will shift towards survivorship.
Back in July of 2010, estimates of new cancer cases on Guam for 2010 and 2011 were released by the University of Guam Cancer Research Center. The attached graph is a projection of prostate cancer cases which must be credited to the work done by the Guam Cancer Research Center at the University of Guam and Dr. Badowski. The projections of prostate cancer estimates based on the straight upward line on the graph covering years 1998 to 2011, is an indication of our community’s need to participate in cancer education programs and learn about early detection tests.
The Foundation will continue its “Live PSA Long” education program which encourages men to have prostate cancer screening tests including a PSA (“Prostate Specific Antigen”) test. PSA is a protein produced by prostate tissue that is easily measured with a simple blood tests and should be routinely included in annual physical examinations. The result of a PSA test will not provide a definitive answer as to the presence of cancer in the prostate, but helps assess the likelihood of prostate cancer. A high PSA level does not always mean cancer. Your doctor may recommend other tests including a biopsy which involves tissue samples taken from the prostate for evaluation in a lab to check whether there are cancer cells and if so, how likely they are to grow quickly.
According to “Federal Benefits for Veterans” 2010 Edition, the other illnesses presumed by Veterans Affairs to be service connected for those Veterans that served in Vietnam from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 are: Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2), Hodgkin’s Disease, respiratory cancers such as lung, bronchus, larynx and trachea cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and multiple melanoma.
For more information on prostate cancer, go to www.prostatecancerfoundatoin.org and www.cancer.org which is the website of the American Cancer Society.
For more information relative to this Release, call Foundation board member Art Mesa at 483-6372 or Foundation Board Chairman Peter Sgro at 688-7476
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