By Suzanne Manneh, New America Media
SAN FRANCISCO - Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer and a leading cause of death among Latinas in the United States, according to a report in San Franisco’s Spanish-language daily El Mensajero. In 2009, there were 14,000 new breast cancer diagnoses within that demographic nationwide and more than 2,200 deaths. Latinas are also 30 percent less likely to have their cancer discovered by a physician, and when there is a diagnosis, the disease is more likely to be found at a more advanced stage.
In the Bay Area, hundreds of women suffering from breast cancer have received support from Latinas Contra Cancer, a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 by local KRON-TV 4 reporter Ysabel Duron, herself a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The organization provides educational resources, Spanish-language support group sessions twice a month and even bras, prostheses and wigs for women in treatment and recovery. Because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Duron says the organization has been making an extra effort to educate the Bay Area’s Latina community on the importance of receiving regular medical exams.
To date, the organization has instructed more than 1,500 Bay Area women on breast cancer prevention and coping strategies, and has helped 150 women get access to mammograms.