On Friday, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will host their 5th annual Montana Cancer Summit. Tribal and community leaders, public health policy experts and cancer advocacy volunteers will lead a discussion. Montana Government Relations Director Kristin Page-Nei explains.

“We do this every year and this year’s topic is Health Equity in the Fight Against Cancer,” Page-Nei said. “This is a free event and we encourage people to attend. It is from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. here is Missoula at the Hilton Garden Inn on North Reserve.”

They will discuss how the state can embrace health equity when it comes to giving every Montanan a fair shot at preventing, finding, treating and surviving cancer. Page-Nei says access to health care is very important.

“Medicaid expansion passed in the last several years and it was reauthorized,” Page-Nei said. “This has been a game changer in making sure hardworking, lower income Montanans have access to care. We will look at programs like that, but also how we address tobacco use.”

According to Page-Nei, they are working with leaders from one of Montana’s American Indian nations to support the community in identifying and addressing the major health issues affecting people living on the reservation.

“In Montana, American Indian woman, on average, live 20 years less than other Montana women and American Indian men live 19 years less,” Page-Nei said. “There are things we can do to really work on that, making sure there is less cancer and that we are preventing people from getting it.”

Page-Nei says they are making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels.

“Cancer patients and care givers are very powerful when they share their stories when we talk to law makers about policies that can truly help in this fight against this disease,” said Page-Nei. “We really encourage anyone that has been touched by cancer to consider attending this event. Whether you’re a care giver, a provider, a cancer patient or a survivor, we want you there.”

Registration for this free event is not required, but please register if you are planning on attending. Registration is available right here.