Cancer Conference March 14 in Flagstaff

The Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP) presents a Cancer Conference on March 14 at the High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the NACP's second Cancer Conference in Flagstaff. The High Country Conference Center is located at 201 W. Butler Ave. adjacent to the campus of Northern Arizona University (NAU).

Marissa Adams, NACP outreach program coordinator, said the goal is to empower cancer sufferers and survivors through education and resources and help those diagnosed with the disease to regain control of their lives.

"We just basically want to work this conference explaining how to live a life through cancer," said Adams. "We start off with discussions about prevention and healthy lifestyles. Then we talk about screening, and once someone is diagnosed with cancer we want to talk about empowering them and how to get through screening."

Adams added that once someone defeats cancer, she and her organization want to keep him or her from getting cancer again. This is why their education and instruction on maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important.

The National Cancer Institute, in partnership with NAU, the University of Arizona, and the Arizona Cancer Institute, pay for the NACP and its conferences, research and prevention programs, educational materials and community health representatives.

The Cancer Conference is free, parking will be available and a full lunch will be provided to all attendees.

"We have a full day's worth of events," Adams said. "We have presentations about rectal cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. We're going to have Native American cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers on the panel to give us an idea of what their lives are like and how they cope with cancer."

Each presentation throughout the day will also be an open forum. Those who attend are welcome to ask the speakers and presenters questions.

"We have a couple medical doctors coming in to give presentations," said Adams. "We have a research component with our grant, so our partners who do research on prostate cancer will be speaking as well. There's also a practitioner from the Cancer Center here in Flagstaff that will speak."

Adams said organizers will set up informational booths in the conference center for attendees to visit if they would like to talk with a medical professional or cancer patient or survivor. Representatives from North Country Healthcare Center, the American Cancer Society, and Sacred Peaks among others will be on hand to discuss cancer issues and answer questions.

Part of the healthy lifestyle the NACP recommends includes fitness activities such as zumba, which will also take place during the conference.

"We encourage physical activity so we thought zumba would be fun for the participants," Adams said. "It won't be a high-impact workout but instead a five-minute demonstration so they know what exercises are important to do at home or in the office, whenever they get time."

Adams, who has been with NACP for three years, said the most important thing she wants people to know is that this program exists, and it is always there for them.

"We're always available for people year round and our services are all free," said Adams. "We do have a community health worker who is basically like our health educator who does the cancer education and we have tons of information for them. And we can do in-home or big group visits."

NACP community health representatives are Danita Ryan and Kellen Polindyumpeewa.

On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. People can register early by contacting Adams or Ryan at (928) 523-8588 or by emailing marissa.adams@nau.edu or danita.ryan@nau.edu.

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