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El Sentinel

Cancer Center Engages Latinos

By Dina Sanchez | El Sentinel

September 7, 2002
Copyright © 2002 El Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

Though the American Cancer Society's Hispanic Development Center in Orlando may be fairly new, it has a slew of projects planned for the coming year.

"We're coming up with ways of how to tap into the market and improve existing programs," said May Nohra, executive director for the center in Orlando. "We're in the starting stages, really."

The Hispanic Development Center is one of Florida's two pilot sites. The other is in Miami.

At the American Cancer Society office on West Colonial Drive, the center provides resources in Spanish. ACS also provides the option to speak with Spanish specialists when calling the patient service center and is forming Spanish speaking support groups.

The Hispanic Development Center's first campaign -- Mi Vida -- has just ended. The program was a call to action for the early detection of breast, cervical and colon cancers in Hispanics. Cancer survivors told their stories and television spots were run on Hispanic stations.

Next the center hopes to initiate Aconseje a Su Amiga, a program that mirrors the American Cancer Society's Tell a Friend program. It urges women to approach other females in their lives - family, friends, coworkers -- and encourage them to go for their yearly mammograms and Pap smears if they haven't in the past 12 months. Aconseje will vary from Tell a Friend as it concentrates on not only breast, but also cervical cancer detection.

"There is a high mortality rate among Hispanic women with cervical cancer," said Nohra. Also on the horizon lies Relevo por La Vida, a Hispanic twist on the cancer society's Relay for Life. That means the same 18-hour walk-a-thon plus music, ethnic foods, a health fair with a more carnival-type feel.

"We're going to take the model from Puerto Rico and adapt it to our local market," said Nohra.

Also, thanks in part to a $6,000 grant from The Women's Initiative, a group that has donated dollars to several American Cancer Society efforts, the Hispanic Development Center will offer free mammograms to 25 women who qualify.

"This will allow a few Hispanic women, those who do not have the means, to get a base line mammogram," said Nohra.

The center will soon begin recruiting Hispanic women age 40 and older with no insurance and no symptoms for the mammograms. If you think you may qualify, call the Women's Center for Radiology, 407-841-0822, Ext. 114.

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