LatinaLista — It’s not new news that the Hispanic population is growing so fast that it’s expected to triple by 2050. Since Latinas already have sorry rates of contracting and dying of these cancers, it stands to reason that the warning issued by University of Illinois professor Lydia Buki will come to pass:
…Buki expects that diagnoses of breast and cervical cancers among Latinas will increase significantly.
“It’s just going to explode,” she said. “It’s really a train wreck waiting to happen, and we’re not doing enough to anticipate women’s needs. Even right now, we are not doing a good job of providing services for these women.”
Professor Buki feels this destructive course has been set in motion for a number of factors: low levels of health insurance, limited proficiency with the English language, low levels of formal education, low income, cultural factors and institutional racism.
Buki feels the only way to combat this growing problem is to provide Latinas with knowledge and access to screening and support services.
Breast cancer, they note, ranks No. 1 among all cancers afflicting U.S. Latinas, and the five-year survivorship rate for Latinas is lower than that for non-Latina whites. Incidence rates of cervical cancer are up to three times higher than those for non-Latina whites.
Among Latinas and Latinos, incident rates for colorectal cancer rank second, and mortality, third.
“Evidence suggests that Latinos develop greater risk for this type of cancer across generations, given the changes in diet that take place across generations in the United States,” according to Buki and Selem. “As Latinos spend more time in the United Sates, their eating habits become more like those of non-Latino whites, with diets higher in fat and lower in fiber, fruits and vegetables.” And they note, Latinos are more likely than non-Latino whites to present with larger tumors or at more advanced stages of the disease.
While all Latinas need to take responsibility for their health and understand that it’s no longer wise to put the rest of the family before their own health, doctors and health practitioners need to inform Latina patients what to look for, how to examine their bodies and what to do when something abnormal is found.
If these things aren’t done, there is no disputing Professor Buki’s prediction:
“We’re headed down a road where we’re going to lose a lot of human potential in this country if we don’t start addressing the needs of this population.”