Navajo Nation recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The American Indian Cancer Foundation’s Pink Shawls Project, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is a breast cancer campaign that brings women together to create shawls to use as educational and awareness tools. (Courtesy photo)

Published October 12, 2019

TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued a proclamation on Wednesday, proclaiming the month of October as Navajo Nation Breast Cancer Awareness Month. President Nez was joined by Council Delegate Otto Tso, Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish, breast cancer survivors, and over 250 others for the signing of the proclamation prior to the Breast Cancer Awareness Month Fun Walk hosted by the Special Diabetes Program in Tuba City, Ariz.

“Many of us have a loved one, a relative, or a friend who is battling breast cancer. This proclamation is to raise awareness among our people – for the ones we’ve lost to breast cancer, for the many who continue to battle, and for the many who have survived breast cancer. What better place to issue this proclamation than the community of Tuba City, the site of the very first cancer treatment facility in all of Indian Country,” said President Nez.

Council Delegate Otto Tso, who represents the Tuba City community as a member of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, recognized and thanked Tuba City Regional Health Care Center for working together with other health advocates to establish the cancer treatment center to help many Navajo people with nearby treatment and resources.

The proclamation acknowledges that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Navajo women, and further states that risk factors that may increase a person’s chance of developing breast cancer include family history, age, alcohol consumption, and genetic history.

“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to us all, men and women, that cancer can affect any of us and that’s why it’s important to get regular check-ups and to take preventative measures like eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis. We all want to live a long and healthy life for our loved ones,” added Vice President Myron Lizer.

Mammography screening funding is available for Native American women from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Navajo Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, which educates and provides cancer screening to low income, uninsured, or underinsured age eligible women across the Navajo Nation, while engaging the community and its partners to increase screening rates.

“According to the National Cancer Institute, one in every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her life time – one in eight! Today, as our President Jonathan Nez signs a proclamation recognizing the urgency of breast cancer awareness, I would like to encourage our Navajo women to take the time to visit our local health centers or mobile clinics to take breast cancer precautions. We need to set aside some time in our day or in our week to be screened because breast cancer is second most common form of cancer in women. Please take care of one another,” said Miss Navajo Nation Shaadiin Parrish.

“We can be a stronger and healthier Nation if we all come together and support one another with encouraging and motivating words. T’áá hwó’ ajít’éego, or self-reliance and self-determination, is the teaching that we are striving to re-instill in our people. Years ago, our Navajo people didn’t have health issues like cancer, heart disease, or others. Today, these issues are prevalent among our people, but we can overcome and persevere to be stronger and healthier Navajo people,” said President Nez.

The Navajo Nation recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the month of October, in accordance with the proclamation signed by President Nez and Vice President Lizer. The Nez-Lizer Administration thanks the Navajo Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program and the Special Diabetes Program for hosting Wednesday’s Fun Walk.

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