According to research conducted by the American Cancer Society and the Intercultural Cancer Council, cancer is the second leading cause of death among Hispanic adults after heart disease. Hispanic women have two to three times the cervical cancer rates of non-Hispanic white women. Hispanic men and women have higher rates of stomach cancer than non-Hispanic populations. Lung cancer and breast cancer are the deadliest cancers among Hispanic men and Hispanic women, respectively.
Despite these alarming statistics, only 38% of Hispanic women age 40 and older regularly receive mammograms, and Hispanic women are less likely to receive regular pap smears than non-Hispanic white women. Deaths from breast and cervical cancers could easily be avoided if cancer screening rates increased among women at risk. Unfortunately, rates of preventive cancer screenings are proportionally linked to insurance coverage-- the less insured an ethnic group is, the less likely they are to be screened. Latinos are the most likely of any ethnic in the United States to be under-insured due to a disproportionate lack of job-related insurance.
In response, HAF has launched “Juntos Podemos Contra El Cancer” (Together We Can Fight Cancer)—a national Spanish-language communications campaign financed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The campaign is designed to reach Spanish-speaking Latinos through both mass media channels and grassroots outreach activities, and strengthen links between community-based service providers and Latino communities. Ultimately the campaign’s objective is to increase cancer screening among Latinos and thereby decrease cancer mortality rates in Latino communities.
In support of the campaign HAF is actively seeking to expand partnerships with community health service providers and cancer screening centers. The campaign’s print, radio, Internet and cell phone messages will build awareness of the importance of cancer screening, and encourage the public to contact HAF's helpline by phone or by email to find the location of their local cancer screening centers that provide bilingual or Latino-friendly services.
In order to better serve the Latino community, HAF is therefore building its database of relevant cancer-related service providers. If you or your organization provides health services to the Latino population, please join our newsletter and stay tuned for more campaign-related information. If you are not yet part of our service provider network, please contact us to become a member. If you provide cancer-related referrals or screening services, please be sure to join our network. Together we can make a difference!