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Hospital cancer board members start campaign planning process

Paula Wells

Sun Advocate community editor

A diverse group of administrators, volunteers and hospital staff met on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming year's cancer fundraising endeavors and legislative campaigns that have been hit by budget cuts.

Southeastern Utah Health District official Georgina Nowak reported to the cancer board concerning the department's continued effort to curb underage smoking in the local area.

According to, the use of related products is currently the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, claiming more than 430.000 lives each year.

To combat the problem at an early age, the website provides a comprehensive guide to aid schools in the fight for control regarding the use of tobacco by minors.

The primary goals of the program are to:

•Prevent youth who don't use tobacco from ever starting.

•Aid youth who currently use tobacco in quitting.

"The task at hand is to implement these two goals with those who are at greatest risk," pointed out the site's comprehensive portable file document. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds of young people in the U.S. have tried smoking by age 18. The majority (90 percent) of adult smokers began smoking at or before the age of 18. Research shows that people who don't start smoking before the age of 18 are unlikely to start."

As 2009 approaches, local class B and class C private clubs will be required to stop smoking within their premises. Any smoking on the premises must take place at least 25 feet from any entrance or exit from the building regardless if there is an outdoor patio at the club.

Changes will also take place concerning the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The date for the event has been changed to June 5 and June 6 and the relay's new chairperson will be Paula Wells from Pinnacle Canyon Academy.

Wells announced Tuesday that the relay's kickoff will take place on Jan. 6, 2009.

Cancer kills more than 550,000 people in America each year, accounting for one in every four deaths in the country. However, according to AMA's 2008 federal priorities literature, there is tangible progress being made that is bringing researchers closer to winning the long fought war against the devastating disease.

"Cancer has become one of the most preventable and increasingly curable life-threatening diseases," explains the literature. "But only if we take steps necessary to prevent it outright, detect it early and provide access to care."

Recent progress fighting the disease includes:

•Cancer morality rates have fallen consistently by about one percent per year. This means that more than 321,000 premature deaths were prevented in the course of a single decade.

•From 2002 to 2003 the actual number of Americans who died of cancer declined for the first time in recorded history. That downward trend continued in 2004. Last year cancer death rates continued to decline and overall death rates from cancer in the U.S. decreased by 18.4 percent among men and by 10.5 percent among women since the 1990s when rates began to decline. This decrease in deaths occurred despite a larger and older U.S. population.

•Americans are increasingly living with cancer rather than dying from it, a reality that exists in part because of consistent government commitment to responsible policies and programs.

Today researchers are making remarkable progress in every area of cancer prevention but will require continued funding and support for fundraising endeavors to continue their work, according to the AMA.

Recently federal budget cuts have affected many cancer prevention and research programs.

Locally, the hospital cancer board will continue efforts to support the AMA both through their annual Relay for Life and Frank Dalpiaz Memorial Golf Tournament.

"We are hoping to make 2009 a banner year for cancer funding in the Castle Valley region," said AMA official Joyce Swanner who attended the Castleview meeting. "We have plans foster and expand the local fundraising and support systems for both cancer research and cancer patient care."

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