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CDC Wants to Upend Hispanic Breast-Cancer Rates in Florida

PHOTO: The Hispanic Access Foundation is holding workshops in the Miami area to educate about prevention and early detection of breast cancer. The CDC reports that breast cancer is a leading cause of death for Hispanic women in the U.S. Photo courtesy of HAF
PHOTO: The Hispanic Access Foundation is holding workshops in the Miami area to educate about prevention and early detection of breast cancer. The CDC reports that breast cancer is a leading cause of death for Hispanic women in the U.S. Photo courtesy of HAF
August 15, 2013

MIAMI - The importance of screening and early detection for breast cancer may seem well-known, but not everyone has heeded the message, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Breast cancer is a leading cause of death for Latino women, with rates of significance in Miami. A campaign is under way to change that, called "Together We Can Defeat Cancer."

Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, explained why poor health outcomes are common in the Hispanic community.

"In some cases it's misconceptions about the issue of cancer, just not knowing where to turn for credible, quality information," said. "And also a lack of health insurance, in many cases."

She said workshops are offered, often connected to faith-based services, to dispel myths and provide a list of resources for screenings and treatment. There's a workshop Saturday at Faith Center Church in Leisure City, and two Sunday at Miami-area churches. The CDC is funding the project, which includes a toll-free line to connect people to resources, 1-800-206-9096.

Naomi Ortega Tein, as the director of an initiative to reduce health disparities in Miami, has coordinated the cancer workshops. She said while they try to keep the mood light, this is a serious topic, especially since the Hispanic population is projected to double by 2050. Her hope is that everyone feels welcome.

"Whether it's just the culture of being female or the culture of being Latina or coming from a low-income or a high-income; making people feel that they're valued, that their questions are important and their health is important."

CDC guidelines say that women over 40 should be screened for breast cancer regularly, and that's not the only cancer of concern. Colorectal cancer is the second-most-common cancer among Hispanic men and women. Those screenings should start at age 50.

A list of workshops is at HispanicAccess.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - FL