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Screening rates lower among Hispanic and Asian Americans.
The percentage of U.S. citizens screened for cancer remains below national targets, with significant disparities among racial and ethnic populations, according to the first federal study to identify cancer screening disparities among Asian and Hispanic groups. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, was published Jan. 26 in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In 2010, breast cancer screening rates were 72.4 percent, below the Healthy People 2020 target of 81 percent; cervical cancer screening was 83 percent, below the target of 93 percent; and colorectal cancer screening was 58.6 percent, below the target of 70.5 percent, according to the study, “Cancer Screening in the United States – 2010.”
Hispanics were less likely to be screened for cervical and colorectal cancer (78.7 percent and 46.5 percent, respectively) when compared to non-Hispanics (83.8 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively).
“It is troubling to see that not all Americans are getting the recommended cancer screenings and that disparities continue to persist for certain populations. Screening can find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers at an early stage when treatment is more effective,” said Sallyann Coleman King, M.D., an epidemic intelligence service officer in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and lead author of the study. “We must continue to monitor cancer screening rates to improve the health of all Americans.”
- Women aged 50-74 years should be screened for breast cancer with a mammogram every two years.
- Women who have been sexually active for three years or are aged 21-65 years should be screened for cervical cancer with a Pap test at least every three years.
- Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for average-risk men and women aged 50-75 years, using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), done at home every year; sigmoidoscopy every five years, with high-sensitivity FOBT every three years; or colonoscopy every 10 years.
To assess the use of currently recommended cancer screening tests by age, race, ethnicity, education, length of residence in the United States, and the source and financing of health care researchers analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which tracks progress toward the achievement of Healthy People 2020 objectives. For the ethnic subgroups, Asians were classified as Chinese, Filipino, or other Asian and Hispanics as Puerto Rican, Mexican, Mexican-American, Central or South American, or other Hispanic.
Significant findings include:
- Screening rates for breast cancer remained relatively stable and varied no more than 3 percent over the period 2000-2010.
- From 2000-2010, colorectal cancer screening rates increased markedly for men and women, with the rate for women increasing slightly faster so that rates among both sexes were nearly identical (58.5 percent for men and 58.8 percent for women) in 2010.
- From 2000-2010, a small but statistically significant downward trend of 3.3 percent was observed in the rate of women who reported getting a Pap test within the last three years.
- Considerably lower breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening use was reported by those without any usual source of health care or health insurance.
The authors note that this study reinforces the need to identify and track cancer screening disparities. Additionally, the report provides guidance for the development programs to increase the use of screening tests in order to meet Healthy People 2020 targets and simultaneously reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.
Hispanics were 13.4% less likely to receive colorectal cancer screenings & 5.1% less likely to receive breast cancer screenings than non-Hispanics.
“Healthy People objectives are important for monitoring progress toward reducing the burden of cancer in the United States. Our study points to the particular need for finding ways to increase the use of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening tests among Asians, Hispanics, as well as adults who lack health insurance or a usual source of health care,” said Carrie Klabunde, Ph.D., an epidemiologist inNCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences and a co-author of the study.
According to the authors, the Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce financial barriers to care by expanding insurance coverage. Other efforts are needed such as developing systems that identify individuals eligible for cancer screening tests, actively encouraging the use of screening tests, and monitoring participation to improve screening rates, they say.
Center for Disease Control
Through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, CDC provides low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women access to timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes or tribal organizations. The CDCs Colorectal Cancer Control Program funds 25 states and four tribal organizations to implement population-based approaches to increase screening among men and women aged 50 years and older. Population-based approaches include policy and health systems change, outreach, case management, and selective provision of screening services. For information about CDC efforts to prevent cancer, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer
National Cancer Institute
NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, visit www.cancer.gov or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).
“CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.”
For the original CDC press release, click here.
The Hispanic Access Foundation is committed to helping Hispanic Americans live better, healthier lives. We provide a searchable online database of healthcare services for Hispanics in communities across the nation. Search our database for healthcare services near you.
For more than six years, Lilia Fuentes did not get a Pap test. Lilia, whose name has been changed, didn’t think it was necessary since she always felt healthy.
Then, at the beginning of 2010, she went to see a doctor after she started to bleed profusely. The test results were devastating: she had advanced cervical cancer. From that moment on, her life took a 180-degree turn.
The independent and hard-working woman who cleaned houses in San Jose, Calif., had to undergo intensive treatment that left her bedridden. To prevent the cancer from spreading, her uterus and ovaries were removed and she started chemotherapy and radiation. She spent entire days in the hospital, completely isolated.
“Neither her sister, nor her two kids — a 22-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son — could see her,” recalls Claudia Colindres, who works for the non-profit organization Latinas Contra el Cáncer (Latinas Against Cancer), which offers support for those who suffer from the disease, as well as their families. Colindres says that despite doctors’ best efforts, the cancer not only did not diminish it became more aggressive.
“She lost a lot of weight and they decided to refer her to a home care program for terminal patients,” she says. “I visited her and the last time I went, I knew I would never see her again. Her skin was yellow and she looked very skinny, very tired.
Lilia died two weeks later, on July 4, 2011.
The family, according to Colindres, is still so upset they refuse to even talk about Lilia, who was 58 years old at the time of her death, originally from Mexico and a single mother.
“At her funeral, the one who looked the most depressed was her sister, who had never lived apart from her. After Lilia died, the family broke up. Her daughter went to live with a friend and her son stayed with his aunt because he was going to school.”
Colindres says that the family is finding it hard to cope with Lilia’s death. They feel guilty for not pressuring her to get tested on time and take better care of her health.
To make matters worse, Colindres adds, they lost the house that Lilia had bought making many sacrifices because they could no longer make the payments.
In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year.
“Lilia’s mom, who lives in Mexico, cries a lot because she can’t see her again and can’t even visit her grave because they cremated her here and her ashes remain here,” she says.
Lilia’s story illustrates the tremendous emotional, social and economic impact the death of a middle-aged woman has on a family from a preventable disease.
“In general, (these women) are the cornerstones of their homes, the ones who give unity and strength to the nuclear family,” says Alejandra Casillas, an internist at the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).
Although this type of cancer affects all ethnic groups, Latinas are diagnosed with this disease twice as often as Caucasians. They also have the highest mortality rate in California, according to Casillas.
This is because, among other reasons, many Latinas lack health insurance. It is also due to cultural reasons.
“Latinas don’t take charge of their health; they don’t value the importance of staying healthy to support their families,” Casillas observes.
Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer worldwide and is responsible for 250,000 deaths a year, of which 4,000 are recorded in the United States.
In California, nearly 1,400 women are diagnosed with this cancer and 400 of them die each year. The deaths are needless because cervical cancer is a preventable disease. It can be easily detected through a relatively simple, low-cost test and can be prevented by a vaccine.
The majority of cervical cancer cases is caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV. Each year, millions of women are infected with the virus, but because they do not have any symptoms, they don’t realize that they are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation has undertaken an intensive educational campaign to reduce the number of victims. Carol Lee, president and CEO of CMA Foundation, notes that “with proven prevention methods, including HPV vaccine, regular Pap tests and greater public awareness, we have a tremendous opportunity to reduce the devastating effects of cervical cancer and completely eliminate this disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest rate of advanced cervical cancer occurs among Hispanic women between 50 and 79 years of age.
Casillas says that several studies show that in California, Latinas are the least likely to get a Pap test. Ten percent have never had the test in their lives.
Pap tests are available for free for low-income women through the “Every Woman Counts” program, and HPV vaccines are covered by insurance and through the “Vaccines for Children” program.
To see if you qualify for a free cervical cancer test through this program, call 1-800-511-2300, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Spanish-speaking operators are available. To see if your children can be vaccinated free of charge, ask your doctor about the Vaccines for Children program. All children eligible for California’s Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program may also qualify for free or low-cost vaccines.
The 2011 CMAF/Cervical Cancer Reporting Fellowship is sponsored by the California Medical Association Foundation (CMAF), a charitable arm of the California Medical Association, to bridge physicians to their communities to address community health. The journalism fellowship program, administered by New America Media, is designed to raise awareness and provide public health information on cervical cancer to the at-risk Latina population in Los Angeles.
Source: Latinas – The Main Victims of Cervical Cancer in California by Maria Luisa Arredondo, New America Media, Posted: Jan 12, 2012
About New America Media
New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism.
Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California with offices inNew York and Washington D.C., and partnerships with journalism schools to grow local associations of ethnic media.
NAM is dedicated to bringing the voices of the marginalized – ethnic minorities, immigrants, young people, elderly – into the national discourse. The communities of the New America will then be better informed, better connected to one another, and better able to influence policy makers.
New Petition Urges Obama to Listen to Latinos on Environment
Calls for new parks and monuments creation, continued protection of land, air and water.
WASHINGTON – The Hispanic Access Foundation has launched a campaign asking Latinos to sign an online petition, which sends an email to the White House, asking President Obama to create news parks and monuments in the west, as well as to continue protections for our land, air and water.
“Latinos are passionate about their public parks and open spaces, which is why protection is important to them,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “This petition gives Latinos the opportunity to have their voices heard.”
The petition follows on the heels of a survey released Jan. 30 by Colorado College showing that 87 percent of Latinos in western states believe that having a strong economy and protecting land and water are compatible. The poll also found that 94 percent see public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas as “an essential part” of the economy.
And just last week, Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, reiterated his call for more parks and monuments throughout the country that recognize the history and culture of American Latinos.
“The Latino population has surpassed 50 million and a record number of Latinos are expected to vote this November,” said Arce. “Our elected officials can no longer ignore the will of Hispanics. I encourage all Latinos to take action and voice their support.”
The petition is available at http://www.4ourparks.org and will be available through the month of February.
TAKE ACTION: TELL PRESIDENT OBAMA WE CARE ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT
WASHINGTON – While the economy is at the forefront of every voter’s concerns this election season, a new survey released today by Colorado College shows that 87 percent of Latinos believe that having a strong economy and protecting land and water are compatible.
The results from the 2012 Colorado College State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll find that Latino western voters – a growing and politically-significant constituency in the upcoming elections – support upholding and strengthening protections for clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife. They view America’s parks and public lands as essential to their state’s economy, and quality of life.
“Hispanics are passionate about their public parks and open spaces,” said Maite Arce, executive director of the Hispanic Access Foundation. “Parks are often the center of family activities, gatherings, and even their careers. As such, their protection ranks high on Hispanics’ priority list.”
The survey, completed in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming by Public Opinion Strategies and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, found that across multiple issues, Latino voters express stronger pro-conservation views than their Anglo counterparts.
Additional findings include:
- Ninety-four percent see public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas as “an essential part” of the economies in these states.
- Seventy-eight percent believe increasing the use of renewable energy will create jobs in their state.
- Eighty percent want to reduce consumption of coal, oil, and gas by expanding use of renewable energy.
- Eighty-eight percent said that cuts to funding for state parks and protections for water quality was a serious problem in their state, indicating that even with tight state budgets, they want government to find a way to maintain investments in land, parks, water, and wildlife protection.
- Seventy-five percent would support the creation of new parks and monuments in their state.
- More than 80 percent view air pollution as a serious problem in their state, and see the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws as important protections rather than burdensome regulations.
The 2012 Colorado College Western States Survey is a bipartisan poll conducted by Republican pollster Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic pollster Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. The poll surveyed 2,400 registered voters in six key western states (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY, MT) January 2 through 5 & 7, 2012, and yields a margin of error of + 2.0 percent nationwide and +4.9 statewide.
The full survey is available on the Colorado College website.
Dear President Obama,
I am Latino and the protection of our environment, as well as the preservation of our parks, is a significant concern I have regarding the future of our country.
I am not alone in this belief. A recent poll by Colorado College shows nearly 9 out of every 10 Western Latinos surveyed believe that a strong economy is compatible with protecting our land and water.
I urge you to take action. Please create new parks and monuments in the West, and sustain investments in, and protections for, our land, air, and water.
LAS CRUCES – There was nothing to dispute Wednesday among the 50 or so southern New Mexicans who were at the Monte Vista Day Use Area, immediately east of Tortugas Mountain, also known as “A” Mountain.
The view to the east of the Organ Mountains was breathtaking. For that matter, the vistas in any direction were pretty spectacular.
“AARP has touted this as a special place to live, …weren’t they right,” said John Muñoz, president of the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces. “Where else can you get a suntan in January?”
There was a titter of laughter from the group, and then a collective sigh. Muñoz and the national retirement magazine was right; the views of the Organs and those of the desert landscape in every direction were something to behold. And the people who were gathered Wednesday were there to emphasize that point.
Hispanic leaders from throughout the state have banded together to call for congressional leaders to enact federal legislation to protect public lands in southern New Mexico, such as the Organs; the Robledo Mountains, near Radium Springs; the Potrillo Mountains, and Sierra de las Uvas. Twenty-nine Hispanic leaders, including former governor Jerry Apodaca and former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid – both Las Cruces natives – have signed and sent a letter to Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, New Mexico Democrats, and Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., to support the proposed Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act, introduced into the U.S. Senate last year.
“We are writing to convey our strong support for the protection of the environmentally, culturally, and historically rich landscapes of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region in Doña Ana County,” said a portion of the open letter to southern New Mexico’s congressional delegation. “Hispanic culture and presence in New Mexico is and has always been closely connected to our state’s rich public lands. These areas provide our families and communities with recreation, hunting, traditions and so much more. Throughout time, they have also brought travelers and tourists, and with them economic development.
“As such, protecting these national treasures is an important priority to us, and to our future.”
The Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the group People for Preserving Our Western Heritage have opposed federal wilderness designation for the area, arguing, among other things, that it would hamper the Border Patrol in being able to secure the southern border.
Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza, among those who signed the letter, said those natural resources within the county are also an integral part of the culture, traditions and values many southern New Mexico Hispanics have.
“I can attest to the efforts of preservation,” Barraza said. “If we lose these beautiful landscapes we can never recover them. Isn’t this why we call this (state) the Land of Enchantment.”
Madrid emphasized the need for federal leaders to take immediate action to protect southern New Mexico’s vistas.
“It is up to our generation to protect these incredible lands as both the key to celebrate our history, as well as a birthright of future generations,” Madrid said.
Retired state representative J. Paul Taylor, of Mesilla, added there is even family history to one of the county’s more notable public lands. The Robledo Mountains, just north of Las Cruces near Radium Springs, are named after Don Pedro Robledo, a descendant of Taylor’s family.
He also has a strong affinity for the Organ Mountains.
“Los Organos – the Organs, have been an essential part of Hispanic culture in this valley for hundreds of years,” Taylor said. “They were a landmark for travelers on the Camino Real, and a consistent source of food, shelter, and materials for local residents.
“Now, they are more important than ever, as we teach our youth the values of stewardship and care that other generations have learned in their shadow.”
There was at least one idea how to drive the point home to federal leaders and convince them to vote for the proposed legislation.
“Let’s invite the president, the federal legislators, to come see for themselves, to participate in some of our cultural and traditional ceremonies,” Barraza said.
Steve Ramirez can be reached at (575) 541-5452. Also, follow Steve Ramirez on Twitter: @SteveRamirez6.
Our Land – Our Future
• Hispanic leaders throughout southern New Mexico are calling for federal government leaders to take action to protect the Organ Mountains, Robledo Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, and Potrillo Mountains.
• Most of those lands are proposed for protection through the Doña Ana County Conservation and Protection Act.
• The proposed federal legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2011.
• The Act would protect nearly 400,000 acres of public land in Do-a Ana County, by designating 271,050 acres as wilderness and creating a 109,600 acre National Conservation Area around the Organ and Doña Ana Mountains, and parts of Broad Canyon.
WASHINGTON – When it comes to taxes, many Hispanics face an uphill battle wrought with barriers such as language, fraud and misinformation. To help address Spanish-speaking taxpayers’ needs for trustful and credible help, the Hispanic Access Foundation has launched an eight-city outreach and educational campaign in partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest tax services provider.
The campaign “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) is designed to emphasize the importance of building an accurate tax history and to give Hispanics tools to protect against fraud and misinformation in the tax preparation process.
“HAF’s helpline has been flooded with calls from Hispanics with questions, confusion, and concerns about their taxes,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “Past calls included fears about immigration status, situations of fraud or that they’ve trusted unskilled tax preparers. It’s evident that there is a critical need for tax preparation education.”
The importance of this education is underscored by the fact that Hispanic buying power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, and that several million Hispanics are estimated to have never filed a tax return.
“Hispanics need access to quality information in their language and to bilingual tax experts to build their understanding about taxes,” said Arce. “With over 2,100 bilingual offices nationwide, H&R Block is an ideal partner to help this population.”
Throughout the campaign, HAF and H&R Block will work with faith-based and community leaders in select communities to discuss tax topics, participate in community events and promote informational tax seminars called “Tax Talks.”
About Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Access Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to promote responsible citizenship, educational attainment, and active engagement in the improvement of the health, environment, and financial well-being of Hispanic families throughout the United States. Working with and through our strategic partnerships with faith and community organizations, we are dedicated to providing greater access to vital information and community resources to the U.S. Hispanic population to improve their health and quality of life. For more information visit www.hispanicaccess.org.
About H&R Block
H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) has prepared more than 575 million tax returns worldwide since 1955, making it the country’s largest tax services provider. In fiscal 2011, H&R Block had annual revenues of $3.8 billion and prepared more than 24.5 million tax returns worldwide, including Canada and Australia. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by approximately 100,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
Contact: Robert Fanger
E-mail: [email protected]