Cancer Treatment Centers of America®: ¡NO ESPERES!

New PSA Campaign Contributes to the Wellness of Latinos


Story By: Jodi Jordan

United States Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce and Cancer Treatment Centers Of America® join forces for early cancer detection

Cancer is a topic that many superstitiously avoid discussing for fear of “attracting” it, and has long been a taboo topic in the Latino community. While mammograms, prostate exams and colonoscopies are not usually dinner table conversation, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) has joined forces with the Hispanic Advisory Council (HAC) of Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) to launch the ¡No Esperes! Campaign during Hispanic Heritage Month.

This initiative is designed to raise awareness among Latinos of the realities of cancer mortality rates, the importance of having those uncomfortable conversations and the potentially life-saving value of early detection and screening. The harsh reality is that cancer accounts for 22% of deaths in the Latino population and 25% of those deaths occur in patients under 50. In fact, it is the number one killer of Latinos in the US.

Cynthia Lynch, MD, medical oncologist at CTCA® , urges Latinos to take control of their health: “Don’t be afraid of cancer. Be diligent. Get screened. Testing is available. Get regular screenings now, so it never becomes a problem.”

Dr. Lynch has a wealth of firsthand experience. “There’s nothing worse than seeing someone die of cancer that could have easily been treated if it was caught early,” she says. This spike will not subside until Latinos understand that prevention is the actual “secret.” Dr. Lynch is adamant about the power of prevention: “You can really make an impact with regular screenings. Make time to see your doctor yearly. Don’t wait until you have symptoms. By the time you sense something is wrong, it can already be spreading.”

While cancer can be devious, it does provide silent clues. Prevention research has advanced so that regular screenings and checkups can detect even the smallest signals. Screenings are “pre-insurance” for your body and mind.

Dr. Lynch recognizes the anxiety of patients, however: “Screenings make people nervous, but if you find something at a screening, it’s likely going to be at a very early stage, and likely treatable. You don’t need to have a family history of cancer to be at risk, so regular screenings can really make an impact.” She adds, “It’s really being willing to reach out; primary care doctors have a lot of resources.” For those with noticeable symptoms, Dr. Lynch is still encouraging. “Should the cancer progress, there are new targeted therapies available,” she explains.

Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the USHCC and member of the HAC, is also committed to raising awareness in Latino cancer prevention. “If something feels wrong, go seek medical help early. Don’t be shy and don’t try to be ‘brave’ by ‘toughing it out,’” he cautions. “Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, making it a clear priority that our community needs to address. We know that 1 in 3 Hispanic women and 1 in 3 Hispanic men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. We need to take more preventative measures when it comes to our health. Culturally, we are less likely to proactively visit a physician until we are experiencing severe symptoms and often, it is too late,” says Palomarez.

Each type of cancer is associated with different symptoms. With such a fatal disease, prevention is key. A simple checkup might save your life. The ¡No Esperes! campaign seeks to create a sense of urgency among Latinos. According to Palomarez, “the ultimate goal is to bring about a paradigm shift in the community, removing any remaining stigma that incorrectly correlates putting off seeking medical attention to a perception of strength and stoicism.”


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