Young Latinas Teach Cancer Awareness to Older Generation


Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Latinas, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Although Latinas have lower breast cancer rates than white women, they are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is more advanced and more difficult to treat. Latinas have the highest rates of cervical cancer and are more likely to die from it than non-Hispanic whites, according to a recent NBCLatino article.
Six out of 10 cervical cancers are found in women who have never received a Pap test or have not been tested in the past five years. Experts say the lack of screening is a cultural issue, and that second-generation daughters may be key in creating awareness of the disease.
Jeanette Santana, a Latino program manager for Gilda’s Club Chicago, said that many women, especially those who are old-fashioned, prefer not knowing if have a health problem or believe that surgery may actually spread the cancer.
Dr. Mariana Chavez MacGregor, a breast cancer doctor and assistant professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said second-generation Latinas get more screenings than first generation immigrants. She sees this as a part of the process of acculturation. Newer generations generally have more access to information with the availability of magazines, internet, and social media. Facebook campaigns can also create cancer awareness.