Ysabel Duron

Committed to Cancer Prevention Efforts in the Latino Community


by: Latino Leaders Staff


Tell us a little a bit about yourself, your background and professional achievements and how you initiated LCC. What motivated you to lead such an amazing organization?

“OK God, this isn’t about dying. What’s the point?”  This was cancer survivor Ysabel Duron’s reaction when in 1999 she learned she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Duron, a veteran broadcast journalist based in San Francisco, set out to navigate her cancer recovery asking questions and wondering how others – particularly those in the Spanish-speaking community – coped with what appeared to be a fragmented and confusing health care system that was often difficult to navigate. Her experience led to an award-winning news series and to her own dedication to serve the low-income Latino community. For Duron, launching California-based Latinas Contra Cancer (LCC) in 2003 was an opportunity to turn the spotlight on cancer, now the number one cause of death in the Latino community.  She retired from TV news in April 2013 after 43 years focusing on LCC’s goals to address the cancer continuum in the Latino community.  Duron won the Purpose Prize in 2013, awarded by Encore.org in recognition of her commitment to the Latino cancer issue. 

This year Duron was appointed to the new Institutional Review Board for the Precision Medicine Initiative, launched by President Barack Obama to increase detection of disease risk and improve quality health care for all.


What is LCC, its mission, and what are some of the services it offers?

Latinas Contra Cancer (LCC) was created to address gaps and issues around breast and other cancers impacting the San Francisco Bay Area’s low-income, Spanish-speaking and immigrant community. Based in San Jose, LCC’s culturally and linguistically appropriate services include its signature program, Health BINGO, which has resulted in raising cancer awareness and early intervention through screening for over 4,500 men, women and teens. LCC also provides a complete menu of supportive services, including patient counseling and navigation through treatment, support groups, information and referrals. LCC’s bilingual website includes community resources, promotes events, and links organizations from all over the country. The LCC staff is dedicated to addressing the cancer continuum, from prevention, diagnosis and treatment, to survivorship and end of life. Since 2010 LCC has helped more than 450 Spanish-speaking patients at the public health care hospital navigate through 40 different types of cancer, the most satisfying accomplishment of our work.

The singular 15-year-old advocacy and service agency also convenes the biennial National Latino Cancer Summit, bringing together researchers, CBOs and advocates, community health educators, patients and students to network, learn and collaborate on cancer issues. In 2009 LCC received the Small Health Service Agency Award from the Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association.


What is your plan for the future and how can anyone get involved and participate in LCC, as well as offer donations, etc.?

Latinas Contra Cancer continues to build culturally and linguistically appropriate programs that address cancer disparities and health system gaps that impact low-income Latinos. The goal of LCC is to provide replicable programs for areas of the country where Latino communities are underserved with regard to cancer awareness, access to screening and quality care. We are building on our repertoire of programs by developing a genetic training program for community health workers, aka promotores, so they can educate the community on how family history, genetics and cancer risk are related. LCC wants to be sure that Latinos are aware of the cutting-edge medicine otherwise known as Precision or Personalized Medicine, the topic of our 2016 National Latino Cancer Summit. Precision Medicine can lead in some cases to early intervention through genetic testing, better care through comparison of genetic data and longer survival with access to the latest drugs. We invite the Latino community and anyone interested in health equity to check our website, www.latinascontracancer.org.  There, they can learn about our work, read about and sign up for our July 25- 27th summit – the only one of its kind in the country – and finally, click the donate button to support our work.