"Today, our network has grown and we are receiving tremendous support from the Navajo medical community, traditional healers, outside cancer experts, and the Navajo people themselves," Kavanagh said. "We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the Navajo people, and are working with them to educate and train local people to be able to continue these programs."
From fewer than 100 participants at the first conference, there now are more than 300 patients, families, volunteers and organizations joined to overcome fear and distrust, and welcome new services and information to better fight cancer on the Navajo Nation, said Kavanagh, who also credited collaborations with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Delta Dental of Arizona, the University of Arizona Cancer Center and TGen.
Dr. Bodour Salhia, a TGen breast cancer researcher and one of the original organizers of the first conference in 2008, will this year make a presentation about the importance of research and clinical trials of new cancer drugs in helping save patients' lives.
"It's extremely satisfying and reassuring to have witnessed the difference this program and other AzMN programs have made on the reservation in such a short time. The Navajo people are now talking about cancer and want to become more proactive and take charge of their health. This is transcending all ages, both men and women. We are just helping them do that by providing them with some tools and information. I am proud of all those who are getting involved in trying to save lives by increasing awareness," Dr. Salhia said.
Mechelle Morgan-Flowers, a nurse and supervisor who works at the nearby Fort Def
|Contact: Steve Yozwiak|
The Translational Genomics Research Institute