Screenings to continue after director for early cancer screening program resigns
POLACCA, Ariz. – Aleema Jones, who educated the Hopi community about cancer awareness, resigned as program coordinator of the Hopi Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program effective Nov. 1.
She will be returning to her hometown of San Diego, California, where there are more services available for her autistic teenager.
Jones last week spoke to the Hopi High sophomore AVID class about cancer with her emphasis on ear-ly screening so people with cancer can be treated as quickly as possible.
“If you get screened early there are more options for treatment,” she said. “Our goal is to overcome barriers to breast and cervical cancer screening. We want to empower women through education.”
Cancer screening options
The Hopi Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program is one of four programs under Hopi Cancer Support Services. The other three are Hopi Tobacco and Education Prevention program, Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund and Hopi Men’s Health Project. Most of the programs are aimed at women, but the cancer prevention office also felt there should be programs available for men.
Jones said people 21-64 years old should have annual exams for colorectal cancer, mammograms, pap tests, pelvic exams and HPV. She said those with abnormalities will be referred for treatment. Most of these testing services are available at Hopi Health Care Center. They periodically have a mobile mammogram which usually sees 60 women in a two day period.
Jones also spoke to the students about the jobs at the Hopi Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program starting with Director Dana Russell, but there are also case managers and office workers. She said most of the jobs in their department call for college degrees.
The Hopi Cancer Assistance Fund can help clients with up to $600 a year for gas, meals and lodging when they have to travel off the reservation for medical care.
Jones said the Hopi Cancer Support Services office partners with Hopi Health Care Center, Tuba City Regional Health Care Center, Hopi Wellness Program, Hopi Diabetes Program, Community Health Rep-resentatives, Arizona Intertribal Council, Arizona Department of Health Services, Native Americans for Community Action and Native American Cancer Prevention.
Jones has a master’s degree in business and marketing from the University of Phoenix. She hopes to get a job in marketing.
“My dad is a businessman. That’s what I saw him doing, so I decided I have an interest in marketing,” she said.