Hispanic American/Latina Women
As an old saying goes, “No
hay peor lucha que la que no se hace.” There
isn’t a worse fight than the
one that is not made.
— Maria Yañez
a informacion y los recursos
en Espanol. For breast health
and general medical information and resources
The term “Latina” or “Hispanic
American” includes several nationalities:
Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Central
Americans (Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans,
Hondurans, Panamanians, Costa Ricans, etc.),
South Americans (also several countries)
and persons of Spanish ancestry.
population is the fastest-growing population
and the largest minority group in the
United States. Hispanic Americans make up
approximately 12.5 percent of the U.S. opulation,
and that number will increase to somewhere
between 19 and 24 percent by 2050, according
to the 2000 U.S. Census.
Hispanic/Latino population is growing
quickly as well. In 1990 there were estimated
to be 76,726 Hispanics/Latinos living
in North Carolina. By 2000 that number
had more than quadrupled to 378,963 (U.S.
Census). Those numbers are likely to
be an underestimate because they do not
take into account Hispanic persons of
undocumented residency status.
research in Hispanic/Latina populations
has been hindered by a number of factors
and thus may not be entirely correct. Also,
data from national cancer registries may
not be accurate for Hispanic American/Latina
women because, until recently, cancer registries
have not collected data specifically on
What is the risk of breast
cancer for Hispanic American/Latina women?
Breast cancer is the most commonly
diagnosed cancer and the leading cause
of cancer death among Hispanic American/Latina
women. Although breast cancer is diagnosed
about 30 percent less often among women
of Hispanic origin, it is more often
diagnosed at a later stage (when the
disease is more advanced) than when
found in non-Hispanic women. This is
true even when access to health care
is adequate. Hispanic/Latina females
also have the highest rates of cervical
cancer of any ethnic group, including
whites. Both of these distressing statistics
are related to Hispanic/Latina women
not getting adequate screening with
mammograms, clinical breast exams and
What special challenges
do Hispanic/Latina women face?
Lack of access to health care
is a major barrier to early detection
and treatment of breast cancer and one
that many Hispanic women face. More
often than any other group, Hispanic
Americans/Latinos have no regular source
of health care.
A high proportion of
Hispanic women are uninsured (about
30 percent). Uninsured Hispanic women with
breast cancer are more than twice as
likely as other women to be diagnosed
with breast cancer in advanced stages.
The disease is more difficult to treat
successfully when it is diagnosed in
its advanced stages, and survival rates
Hispanic/Latina women also
face other barriers to health care, including
difficulties with language, transportation,
child care, immigration status and
Hispanic American/Latina women do?
health departments and large hospitals
now have Spanish translators to help
healthcare providers communicate with Spanish-speakers.
If you need one, ask.
- If you are age
40 or above, get regular mammograms and
breast exams (talk to your health care
provider about how often). Spread the
word to women you know to do the same.
you have been diagnosed with breast cancer,
think about seeking treatment from one
of the three Comprehensive Cancer Centers
in North Carolina or from another
large cancer center. See our listing of North
Carolina Hospitals and Cancer Centers).
- If you need help paying
for mammograms or treatment, see Financial
and Other Assistance.
- Be an
advocate for your health care. If you
have been diagnosed with breast cancer,
become informed about your diagnosis, treatment,
and long-term follow-up care.
Participate in making decisions about your care.
Use this Resource Directory to help you learn
more about your options and
to find additional resources for more information.
- Communicate as much and
as openly as possible with your health
care providers. If you are not comfortable talking openly
with a provider, look for
another provider that you can trust.
Insurance And Latino Immigrants
is much confusion and fear among Latino
families about who can get Medicaid
or SCHIP (State Children’s Health
Insurance Program) and who cannot.
Federal funding for immigrants’ health
coverage is restricted by complicated
rules, which create confusion and deny
coverage to many immigrants.
the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 placed
restrictions on immigrants’ access
to public programs. Legal immigrants
who lived in the U.S. before August
22, 1996 can get public coverage
through Medicaid or SCHIP. Those
who entered on or after that date
are not eligible for five years,
and then other restrictions apply.
Undocumented immigrants are barred
from Medicaid in most states. Even
immigrants who do qualify are afraid
to apply because they wrongly fear
that receiving Medicaid will jeopardize
their citizenship status.
from Health Coverage in Latino
Communities: What’s the Problem
and What Can You Do About It? Families
FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
A Guide to Developing and Sustaining Spanish
Speaking Support Groups (2002). This handbook
is a two-part reference guide offering
culturally sensitive information for providers
working with Latinas with breast cancer.
Contact National Center for Cultural Competence,
888.315.5988 or www.nccc.org.
Educate Our Women (Raleigh, NC)
Assists low-income, uninsured African American
and Latina women in Wake County with mammograms.
Also provides education about breast health
through lay health advisors. Call for details
and eligibility requirements. (2006 Komen
NC Triangle Affiliate Grantee)
Hazlo Por Tu Familia (Siler City, NC)
Immigrant Health Initiative, Chatham Hospital
Offers immigrant Latinas breast health education,
breast exams, case management and aftercare
lymphedema therapy. (2006 Komen NC Triangle
Hermanas Unidas el Contra Cancer (Cabarrus
704.920.1120 (English and Spanish)
This group of Latina lay health advisors
meets the second Friday of the month at 10:00
am at The Hispanic Learning Center to plan
events and breast health education and outreach
strategies. Contact JoAnna M. Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information. (2006 Komen Charlotte
Lincoln Community Health Center (Durham,
Has an outreach program to provide screening
and bilingual education to uninsured women
in Durham County. (2006 Komen NC Triangle
Mammograms for Life! (Nashville, NC)
Nash County Health Department
Provides mammograms and other diagnostic
services such as ultrasound and biopsies
to women in need, including Hispanic women.
(2006 Komen NC Triangle Affiliate Grantee)
Medline Plus: Hispanic American Health
Covers news, nutrition, screening, research,
organizations, statistics and other issues
relevant to Hispanic Americans.
Council of Women’s
Publishes “Talking to Latinas About
Breast Cancer,” a bilingual guide that
describes how community organizations can
develop successful breast cancer outreach
programs for Latinas.
This organization—a support network
to inform, support and empower Latinas affected
by cancer—can provide Spanish language
resources to anyone in need.
Office of Minority Health Resource Center
Publishes the “Breast Cancer Resource
Guide for Minority Women.” Call to
order or see www.omhrc.gov/omhrc/publications/bcrg2005.pdf.
Redes en Accion:
The National Hispanic/Latino Cancer Network
This National Cancer Institute-funded, nationwide
network of community-based organizations,
research institutions, government health
agencies and the public was developed to
combat cancer among Latinos.
SAHLSA: Short Assessment of Health Literacy
for Spanish-Speaking Adults
This brief test helps health care workers
identify patients with low health literacy
and alerts them that alternative communication
methods (audio, video, pictures) may be needed.
Available in the June 2006 issue of Health
Services Research. See www.blackwellpublishing.com or contact author at 919.966.7770 or .
HELP FOR AGENCIES AND PROVIDERS
OFFERING BILINGUAL SERVICES IN NORTH CAROLINA
The Access Project
The Access Project and the National Health
Law Program have developed a Language Services
Action Kit for advocates and providers to
ensure that people with limited English proficiency
get language help in medical settings.
The Carolina Association of Translators
and Interpreters (CATI)
Professional association for translators
and interpreters in different languages.
Publishes a yearly membership directory by
language and field of expertise.
Coordinated by the North Carolina Office
of Minority Heath and North Carolina Interpreter
Task Force. Various interpreter-training
programs are provided at various locations
and times throughout the state.
The North Carolina Migrant Health Program
Provides access to a toll-free Spanish medical
interpreter service for providers of health
care services to migrant farmworkers and
their families in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Refugee Health Program
Provides health departments access to the
AT&T language line for services for newly