Recently reelected for his tenth consecutive term as the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Mark Macarro has worked to defend the rights of tribal members since 1992. In addition to representing his tribe in local and state government, Mark Macarro also works to support the tribe’s economic independence, which primarily relies on the Pechanga Resort & Casino.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Pechanga Spa launched a month-long campaign throughout October to provide free haircuts to people with hair eight inches or longer. The hair collected from these donations will go to patients undergoing cancer treatments, which frequently results in total hair loss. Amber Curatola, a Comanche tribe member and resort employee, took the initiative to give one of the first donations. Despite the personal cultural significance of long hair, Ms. Curatola volunteered after seeing the effects of cancer treatment firsthand. Her aunt, who has battled liver cancer for more than five years, lost her long hair as a result of treatments. Additionally, Curatola’s cousin, a 32-year-old mother of two, was recently diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and is preparing to undergo intensive treatment.
Although breast cancer rates have declined since 1989, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and although American Indian women do have lower breast cancer rates than white women, they are more likely to be diagnosed later in life, when the cancer has progressed and is more difficult to treat.
For more information about recommended cancer screening guidelines, visit www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/cancerscreeningguidelines.