To assess cancer prevention and control capacity in the US-associated Pacific Islands (USAPI, including American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, and Palau) and to support indigenous leadership in reducing cancer health disparities.
Jurisdiction- specific needs assessments were conducted to assess cancer prevention and control capacity and challenges. The Cancer Council of the Pacific Islands (CCPI), an indigenous health leadership team from public health and medicine, was supported to review assessment findings, develop priorities, and build capacity to address recommendations.
Capacity varied across jurisdictions, but generally there is limited ability to measure cancer burden and a lack of programs, equipment, and trained personnel to detect and treat cancer. Most cancers are diagnosed in late stages when survival is compromised and care is most costly. Jurisdictions also are challenged by geographic, social, and political constraints and multiple in-country demands for funding. Based on findings, strategies were developed by the CCPI to guide efforts, including fund seeking, to expand cancer prevention and control capacity in regionally appropriate ways.
Concerted planning, training, and funding efforts are needed to overcome challenges and upgrade capacity in cancer education, prevention, detection, and treatment in the USAPI. Indigenous leadership and local capacity building are essential to this process.