Fifty years after the American Cancer Society’s Guam branch launched in 1970, the organization has now unveiled an exhibit to mark ACS’s milestones in the fight against cancer, both nationally and locally.

The traveling exhibit – featuring panels detailing the history of the society, photo books and news clippings – was on display at the Outrigger Guam Beach Resort this week.

“Some of the groundbreaking progress we have made … have helped us have a healthier community,” said Tina Noket, ACS Guam’s senior community development manager.

Diagnostic breakthroughs

One major breakthrough advocated by the American Cancer Society nationally in the 1940s is the Pap smear.

“This screening test can help detect cervical cancer early so that you can take the steps needed so it does not progress,” Noket said. “So we are seeing a lot of people survive cervical cancer because they are catching it early.”

The introduction of a vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, is another milestone featured in the display. “We are vaccinating now against cancers to completely prevent them,” Noket said.

The HPV vaccine protects against six different cancers. The virus “can lead to cervical cancer for girls, but it can also lead to penile cancer and cancer of the genital areas,” said Noket.

‘We are a science-based organization’

As it celebrates the many years of progress, Noket said the society also has much work ahead of it.

“The work in cancer is a long process, because we are a science-based organization, so we want make sure the strategies and guidelines and recommendation we are putting out are based on science,” she said.

Locally, the society hopes to reduce tobacco use.

“Its the major cause of not just cancer but many other chronic diseases,” Noket said.

Looking back on how far ACS has come in fighting cancer fuels ambitions for even more achievements in the future, Noket said.

“We have accomplished so much in the past 50 years, and we want to one day make it a manageable disease and not lose people to cancer,” she said.

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