Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latina women. According to the American Cancer Society Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2012-2014, 1 in 3 Latinas will be diagnosed with cancer.
Anyone is at risk. However, early screenings can catch cancer before it spreads. When breast cancer is caught at an early stage, treatments are more likely to be successful. While the exact cause(s) of breast cancer is not confirmed, factors that increase breast cancer risk include age, family history, early menarche (menstrual cycle), late menopause, postmenopausal obesity, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity, according to the abovementioned study.
Ain’t I Latina? spoke with Desirée Berenguer Carton, Director of Media Relations at American Cancer Society, at PEOPLE en Español’s Festival in New York City. Berenguer-Carton shared how the 102-year-old organization is helping our community beat breast cancer.
“Unfortunately, breast cancer affects so many people,” says Berenguer-Carton. “We have walks all across the country to raise awareness to make sure we’re raising funds to end breast cancer because we don’t want our loved ones to hear those words again that ‘you have cancer.’ We want to help finish this fight.”
The American Cancer Society professional notes that the organization is available to support families in a variety of ways. “We offer free wigs, free makeup, [and] free rides to treatment,” she says. “We have Hope Lodges across the country.”
Most importantly, stay on top of your health, she advises.
“The biggest thing is to make sure you listen to your body. Know that you’re not alone,” says Berenguer-Carton. “Consult with your doctor on what’s best for you. Breast cancer has the most cancer diagnosis in women other than skin cancer. It’s important to get checked out.”
If you don’t have insurance or documentation, there are free screenings. You can call the American Cancer Society, 24/7, year round, at 1-800-227-2345, or go to Cancer.org, for more resources.