Closing the Gaps in Health Care During National Minority Health Month

April 21, 2016

Published by Maggie Klee

DSC06744Most of us don’t enjoy going to the doctor, especially when we feel fine, but know an annual physical is key to remaining healthy and detecting any possible issue early. Imagine however, you make that appointment because you know it is important, yet you don’t know how you will pay for any screenings or procedures, and your doctor isn’t speaking your language.

This is the reality for millions across the country who are barred from accessing quality care by language barriers, financial problems, transportation and more. They miss out on the potentially lifesaving screenings, vaccines and education that could detect a cancer in an early, more treatable stage or prevent it altogether.

Over the past 30 years, the Prevent Cancer Foundation has worked hard to provide support for uninsured or underinsured women to ensure they get the screenings they need to prevent or detect cancer early. During National Minority Health Month, we’re highlighting a long-running program, “¡Celebremos La Vida!,” that has helped thousands of at-risk women receive education, screenings, treatment and more.

The program is one of our 30 Pearls of Cancer Prevention, a listing of key programs, research grants, advocacy projects, education initiatives and more that are major milestones in the history of cancer prevention and early detection. Throughout our 30th Anniversary year, we are looking back at the enormous leaps made in helping the public prevent or detect cancer early. There is still a lot of work to do. Research shows that about 50 percent of cancers diagnosed today could have been prevented. With your help, we can continue to fund groundbreaking research and programs to save lives around the world.

Launched in 1994, “¡Celebremos! La Vida,” has provided breast and cervical health care and information to thousands of underserved Hispanic women. To remove the language and cultural barriers in health care, bilingual and bicultural coordinators work with patients to create a comforting environment to talk about their health. Patients are encouraged to return for yearly check-ups, take care of their health and promote the message of early detection to other women in their communities. If breast or cervical cancer is detected, the coordinator works with collaborating medical centers to ensure free or low cost medical follow-up and treatment. To date, Celebremos has provided more than 20,000 pap tests and mammograms, leading to the cancer diagnoses and treatment for 42 women.

Latinas face disparities in breast cancer education as well as access to screenings and follow-up care. Compared to non-Hispanic whites and African Americans, Latinas 50 and older have a higher risk of breast cancer and are more likely to die from it. To learn more about the Foundation’s programs working to close the disparities gap in cancer care and download free informational materials, visit preventcancer.org. You can view the full list of our 30 Pearls of Cancer Prevention here.

We thank Susan G. Komen® for its generous funding of ¡Celebremos la Vida!

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