Steve Sunderland, the administrator and his team including a doctor, a nurse and several navigators of the Cancer Justice Network (CJN) met on Monday, January 30th with people who came to the Northside Presbyterian Church. The primary purpose was to empower the people by providing information on various types of cancer, screening locations and to encourage and offer them assistance in signing up for cancer screenings if they desired. During the event, the doctor spoke to the group at large concerning different types of cancer and encouraged each, if they had not done so, to sign up to receive a screening. Two people from the group shared their experiences with cancer. I was particularly touched by one woman’s story because she was in tears as she shared how a loved one had died with cancer. Her body seemed to shake as she pleaded with people to be sure to take the opportunity to get a screening.
The nurse emphasized the importance of screenings and informed the group of several screening locations. After which, the people were asked to consider if they would like to sign up for a cancer screening. If so, they were instructed to raise their hand and were told a navigator would assist them with the process. In the meantime, navigators became group facilitators at each table with a small group of people. The navigator’s role became one in which each person interested was engaged with them in a question/answer session. My observation concluded that the people gathered there were given information and resources and were encouraged to value their health and themselves enough to at least think about getting a cancer screening. The navigator at my table even offered to help find transportation, check with them on their insurance, and go with them to the screening if they needed her to. In my opinion, this community service is one that could help diagnose cancer in its early stage; therefore, it would allow treatment to be administered with the possibility of many lives being saved from death of this disease.
The CJN program has great potential to reduce the death rate of cancer victims through early detection. The success of CJN will depend upon the community working together to provide workplace and/or neighborhood meeting venues, , transportation, childcare, and diverse advertising that will help reach low income, minorities, persons with disabilities and senior citizens. In addition, it will be important for the health professionals to become passionate about CJN’s program and sign on as part of the team which, I believe, will also reduce the fear of individuals going for cancer screenings. Individuals who choose to take advantage of CJN will greatly benefit through the following services:
Individuals who take advantage of the CJN program are apt to share this information with their loved ones, friends and neighbors; thus, CJN’s program has the potential to save the lives of many.
by Annie McEachirn Carson
Read about the latest progress we are making as a Cancer Justice Network.