Maegan Molnar: Breast Cancer Changes You, and That’s OK

Maegan Molnar breast cancer survivor main art

By Maegan Molnar Breast Cancer Survivor in San Antonio I was only 26 years old when I was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. My world flipped upside down when I came across a lump during my very first breast exam just three weeks before my wedding. I had nine rounds of IV chemo before we realized it wasn’t working. I then had to stop treatment, have a lumpectomy, and then completely restart a different IV chemo regimen. I then had a double mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction followed up 9 rounds of an oral chemo therapy. To say I was exhausted when it was over would be a complete understatement. To say I was naive when I thought it was over would be completely accurate. This May will be 5 years since my diagnosis. I cannot imagine trying to add up the ...

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New Bilingual Materials Aim to Boost Cultural Competence

doctor latina latino cultural comptence with phone looking at bilingual materials

Cultural competence is the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one's own. This is often lacking in health care. Latinos, for example, experience discrimination and implicit bias in the doctor’s office, and face a systemic lack access of social support. That's why we are excited to share new bilingual materials from various agencies the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) aiming to improve cultural competence and equitable access to care. "Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) in health and healthcare is one way to improve the quality of services provided to all individuals, which will ultimately help reduce health disparities and achieve health equity," ...

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Texting and Other Innovative Ways to Increase Latino Cancer Screening

latina hispanic breast cancer screening mammogram doctor patient

Latinos face some serious cancer health disparities. They are so serious that many health experts recommend cancer screening, a type of test that looks for signs of different cancers early, before the illness can cause serious harm. “Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear,” experts at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). “Early detection is important because when abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread and be harder to treat..” What is Cancer Screening? Cancer screening is a series of exams, most of the time recommended by a physician or begun at a certain age, to explore the body for any signs of cancer. According to NCI, types of screening ...

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Expanding Broadband Access Could Address the Latino Digital Divide

About 19 million Americans lack access to broadband services, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Of those 19 million, the majority are in low-income and rural communities and communities of color. This “digital divide” is problematic, especially as students and families have needed to rely on the internet for online learning and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, businesses and the federal government are stepping up to help these areas by expanding broadband access. In his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden proposed expanding broadband services to low income, rural areas. Comcast also recently announced their decision to invest in low-income areas to close the digital divide. Together, initiatives like ...

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Facebook Live En Español: The Latino Cancer Survivor’s Journey

Latina Latino Cancer Survivor breast cancer strong

Cancer affects different people differently. For Latinos, the cancer survivorship journey is shaped by cultural and spiritual beliefs. Latinos also face struggles with barriers to care, screening, clinical trial participation, and patient-doctor communication. This is the focus of a new Spanish-language Facebook Live event, “Supervivencia: Viviendo a través y más allá del cáncer," set for 6-7:30 p.m. CST Monday, May 19, 2021. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) South Texas Chapter is sponsoring the event. Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio will host the event on its Facebook page. Register here for the Facebook Live event. The event will feature: Dr. José Cruz, MD, is a hematology and oncology expert with the Methodist Healthcare's Adult Blood and Marrow ...

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5 Key Barriers to Health Opportunities for Latinos

5 barriers for latino health opportunities

Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity for the best possible health and well-being. That’s health equity. And that’s the mission of the Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative is led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and Texas Health Institute in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides funding. The HOPE Initiative tracks data on 27 indicators related to social and economic factors, community & safety, physical environment, access to healthcare, and health outcomes. “Our unique analyses use an opportunity framework to set aspirational but achievable goals to improve life outcomes—especially populations of color most affected ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 5/4/21: The State of Latino Cancer

State Latino Cancer

Cancer impacts—and kills—too many people across the US, especially among Latinos. There are many reasons behind Latino cancer health disparities, including systemic racism and discrimination, cultural and language barriers, and a lack of clinical trial participation. As Latinos continue to deal with inequitable rates of cancer, as well as a lack of equitable care, we need greater action from all sectors to help in this issue. Let’s tweet with #SaludTues to raise awareness of challenges and solutions to Latino cancer disparities, and boost participation from the Latino community in clinical trials! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “The State of Latino Cancer” WHERE: Twitter WHEN: 1-2 p.m. ET (12-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, May 4, 2021 HOST: Salud America! at UT ...

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2021 County Health Rankings Show Gaps & Health Disparities for Latinos

Have you ever wondered how your county compares to others in healthcare, education, and opportunities? County Health Rankings & Roadmaps is a program by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that measures health disparities in different counties based on local data to help improve health and quality of life. The 2021 update of the County Health Rankings reflect the inequities worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and shines a brighter lens on racial equity and justice. “And while the Rankings do not measure COVID-19 risk, they do help to show the root causes that contribute to poor health. Creating conditions for everyone to thrive requires looking to multi-layered social, economic, and structural factors that run much longer ...

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Webinar 4/21/21: Addressing Clinical Trial Enrollment Barriers in Unique Populations

crowd with masks for clinical trial enrollment barriers

In clinical trials, researchers test life-saving treatments and find ways to prevent and manage disease. But Latinos don't often participate in research. They account for less than 10% of people in federal cancer clinical trials. This makes it hard for researchers to create treatments that work best for Latinos. This is the focus of a new webinar, “Addressing Clinical Trial Enrollment Barriers in Unique Populations,” set for 1 p.m. ET Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The event is sponsored by Fight Colorectal Cancer. Register for the webinar. Panelists are: Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPh, is Director of the Salud America! program and its new project to engage more Latinos in cancer and Alzheimer's research (supported by a grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group), ...

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