Kusaka campaigns against breast cancerTo the Forum:

One of the major health issues facing all women is breast cancer. Just being a

woman and getting older puts us at risk. There is probably not one of us whose

life has not been touched by it.

The good news is that there is much we

can do to identify breast cancer early and save lives, and that’s what I want

to share on this Mother’s Day.

I have been delighted to participate this

year in the national “Mayor’s Campaign Against Breast Cancer.”

Through the

program, mayors all over the country are raising awareness about breast cancer,

and encouraging women to take the important early detection steps to save lives

— annual doctor visits and mammograms, and monthly breast self-exams.

When breast cancer is found early, it can be treated.

Kaua’i’s Breast and

Cervical Cancer Project Advisory Committee says that we no longer have any

excuses for putting off our annual exams and mammograms. If cost is a factor,

money may be available to pay for these services.

If you are putting it

off because it takes too much time, there are “One-Stop” appointments that

include the doctor’s visit and the mammogram. You can be finished for the year

in less than two hours. Even some Saturday appointments are available.

If

you feel shame — don’t put it off any longer. Your family wants you to be here

for a long, long time, and there is no shame in that.

I would particularly

like to thank some of our Kaua’i employers who have allowed this important

message to be brought to their workplace and shared with their female

employees.

Mahalo to the Hyatt Regency Kaua’i, the Kaua’i Marriott, and

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, who have shown that they truly care for the

health of their employees.

So, join me in the Mayor’s Campaign Against

Breast Cancer. Through this experience, I have been inspired to have my own

annual mammograms. If you, your mother, sister or auntie are age 50 or over,

and can’t afford to pay, or just have questions about the services, please call

245-7767.

What better way to say Happy Mother’s Day to someone you

love?

Employers wishing to bring this important message to your workforce,

or social service agencies who wish to have staff trained in how to approach

their clients about this issue, may also call.

Our Kaua’i project is a

joint effort of the Hawai’i Department of Health and Ho’ola Lahui Hawai’i. By

each of us taking steps to get the word out, we can save the lives of the women

we love.

Maryanne Kusaka

Mayor, County of Kaua’i

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