Volunteer Leanne Lance gives final directions to walkers before they head out. (Photo: Joyce McClure)
Colonia-- To create awareness for World Cancer Day 2018, the Yap Cancer Program sponsored a walk on Sunday, Feb. 4, that was an all out success according to event organizers.
“We had 239 people of all ages, both residents and visitors alike, come out to hike on one of Yap’s famous stone paths together,” said Jennifer Palemar of the YCP. “It was among the highest number of participants for these types of events in Yap thanks to all of our partners who came together to get the word out.” Founded by the Union for International Cancer Control, similar World Cancer Day events are held all over the world on the same day to encourage prevention, detection and treatment. Participants received a t-shirt and bottle of water, and a prize drawing was held at the end of the walk. Among the many prizes were children's toys, a Bluetooth speaker, Bluetooth headphones, $100 worth of phone cards and flash drives, donated by the Yap Cooperative Association, Yap Cancer Program, Yap NCD Program, and Philip T. Ranganbay.
Palemar and her colleagues mentioned that the route chosen involved working closely with partner, Chief Cyril Yinnifel, and Leo Pugram and the People of Nimar, whose help added to this lagoon walk through beautiful village scenery and a new experience for many of the participants who had never walked that path. "Additional partnership from the Yap Visitors Bureau, Women’s Interest Office, Yap Sports Council, Yap Chamber of Commerce, Attorney General’s Office, Yap State Division of Media and Protocol, Office Place, the Department of Health Services, Public Health Division, and the Environmental Protection Agency helped made Yap’s World Cancer Day a fun event for everyone,” added Palemar.
The Yap Cancer Program has been observing World Cancer Day with a variety of activities since 2010. “The Yap Cancer Registry data shows that oral cancer is the leading cancer in our population,” said Palemar, "followed by lung, liver, cervical, breast, and prostate cancers. Almost half of the hospital’s annual medical referral budget is spent on off-island care and treatment for cancer patients." In an effort to do more case findings and reduce the number of late stage cancers, the Yap Cancer Program started the annual Women's and Men's Health Week cancer screenings in 2008 that are held in May and June every year to coincide with Mothers and Fathers Days respectively. The success of these programs has resulted in other public health programs incorporating additional screenings. Women's Health Week this year is scheduled for May 14th-18th and Men's Health Week is June 11th-15th.