Hispanic women more likely to die after being diagnosed with breast cancer
According to the Baltimore Sun, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic women, which is partly because many Hispanic women are not knowledgeable about the U.S. health care system or fluent in English. Weirdly enough, Hispanic women are less likely to get breast cancer than other ethnic groups, but Hispanic women who are diagnosed are 20 percent more likely than white women to die from the disease. One reason is that Hispanic women are more likely to learn they have breast cancer at later stages of the disease, when tumors are larger. Carol DeSantis, director of breast and gynecological cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society, stated,
It is an important issue. One problem might be that they don’t think it affects them. But they should be getting screened, because it does affect Hispanic women. They want to catch it as soon as possible in order to improve their chances of survival.
Unfortunately, even as hospitals and nonprofits have pumped more resources into programs targeting Hispanic women, this disparity continues to persist. The Baltimore Sun claims that doctors, nurses and advocates for patients blame the disparity on medical factors, higher rates of diabetes, and sociological factors, cultural differences and language barriers among other things. Apparently, Susan G. Komen and other groups have found that doing educational outreach to Hispanic communities, and hiring bilingual workers to help with doctor appointments and paperwork, have helped reduce gaps in screening, diagnosis and treatment. According to the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, many Hispanic women can’t take time off from work to see a doctor, because many of them can’t afford to not get paid due to many of them working hourly jobs that pay minimum-wage. Other Hispanic women may not know about checking their breasts for unusual lumps, or that good nutrition can improve breast health. Hopefully, the programs targeting Hispanic women can raise their awareness of breast cancer and being healthy.