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The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation’s cancer treatment center on the Navajo Nation is receiving $8 million in federal funding. The money will be used to expand the cancer treatment center and help develop skilled nursing services and long-term care for Navajo elders, according to a Navajo Nation press release on Monday. This funding is part of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law Friday to fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year.

Located nearly 80 miles northeast of Flagstaff, Ariz., the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation provides inpatient and outpatient emergency services, dental and ophthalmology services, orthopedics, OB-GYN, oral surgery, eye surgery, radiation exposure testing and education, and urological procedures. According to the press release, the expansion of the cancer center will involve efforts to provide radiation oncology treatment that would allow patients to get care closer to home rather than having to travel off the Navajo Nation.

“This historic funding allocation is the very first federal investment in tribal based cancer care,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez in the press release. “We had the honor of joining First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for a visit to the cancer treatment center and now we are pleased to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to reignite the Cancer Moonshot mission to end cancer.”

The Cancer Moonshot, established in 2016 by then-Vice President Joe Biden and reignited last month by President Biden, aims to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50% over the next 25 years.

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“We commend the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation board and CEO Lynette Bonar for forging new partnerships with universities, health care companies, and health industry professionals to garner support for the treatment center to provide chemotherapy, support groups, and other much needed services for Navajo people who suffer from various types of cancer,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer. 

The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President continues to support the ongoing efforts of the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation to fully establish long-term skilled nursing services and to construct a new hospital facility to replace the current hospital constructed in 1975, the press release says. 

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from RxDestroyer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
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Kelsey Turner is a contributing writer for Native News Online and a graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.