A health story today says that Hispanic women tend to find their cancers through self-exams (which means they are generally found later than they would be through mammography), and, due to lack of health insurance, language and cultural barriers, they generally wait longer before seeking
About 50 percent of the women in a study of 230 Mexican-American breast cancer patients in Arizona and Texas had found changes in their breasts themselves, but they waited more than a month to seek medical attention, according to research presented at the conference hosted by the American Association for Cancer Research.
From the CNN story:
"They're not getting more breast cancer than other women, but they're less likely to survive as long," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, a member of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's National Health Advisory Council and chairwoman of the Komen Foundation National Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council. "The reason is they're diagnosed at a later stage of the cancer."
"We're seeing them at later stages, so the cancer is more advanced. Their five-year survival rates are lower than non-Hispanic whites," Ramirez said."
One speaker at the conference was Maria Rubeo, who described the lump she found under her arm as the size of a lemon. She didn't have health insurance, so when the first doctor said it was nothing to worry about, Rubeo did not seek a second opinion. It was during her next visit (with a different doctor) that Rubeo learned she had breast cancer; she had a mastectomy, and is now a 10-year-survivor who works to educate other women.
The story cited multiple barriers to Hispanic women; language is the most obvious. It makes everything from scheduling appointments to understanding public service announcements more difficult. There are cultural issues -- Latino husbands often do not want their wives to seek help from male doctors. And women seeking mammograms were those who had more education and more exposure to English-language media.
Here's the complete article:
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