Cancer #1 Killing Disease For Hispanics, But Gainesville Continues To Fight Back
GAINESVILLE - Lily Rosales is a breast cancer survivor.
In her native language, Spanish she tells me, "Nos dejamos a nosotras por ultima y caundo llegamos al medico ya el cancer esta spread y es muy tarde." Which means, We always put our families first and leave ourselves for last, so when we visit the doctor it's often too late; by then the cancer has spread.
The American Cancer Society has just released new research showing cancer is the number one killer of Hispanics. Dr. Alba Amaya-Burns is part of the Cancer Health Disparities Center at Shands. She says Hispanics don't have a greater chance of getting breast cancer than African American or non-Hispanic Whites but they have a higher chance of getting infectious diseases related cancer such us stomach, cervix, liver and gallbladder cancer. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic women; this is because of late detection and late entrance into treatment. Dr. Amaya-Burns says, "They are afraid to go. Especially if they are undocumented or of they don't have insurance. We need to create public health intervention and ensure that this problem will be addressed as soon as possible."
And that's exactly what one local group in Gainesville is doing. The RWHP or "Rural Women's Health Project" created a program called "Creando Nuestra Salud" or "Creating Our Health," where through films, special kits and fotonovelas; which are pamphlets telling a story with a health message. They are educating women on self breast exams and proper screening. Robin Lewy with the RWHP says Hispanics need to make sure they know where to go and how to get medical services. "Training lay health workers to take the message of "Creando Nuestra Salud" door to door within their community. And with that, we've probably trained over 150 lay health workers here in North Central Florida and been able to train face to face over 2400 women," Lewy said.
Through finding from the American Cancer Society and Walmart, this year the program will train 25 more women to do a more focused outreach in Marion and Alachua counties. To learn more about the project or get involved, check out their website at RWHP.org
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