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HealthyHispanicLiving Contributor Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel Discusses How Understanding the Cultural Values of Latinas Helps Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer Risk & Prevention
Date:12/27/2013

ds on the success of these preliminary studies with a pragmatic, randomized, controlled interventional trial to test the effectiveness of a pre-GCRA telephone intervention for underserved Latinas at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The aim is to determine that culturally and linguistically appropriate intervention will improve the uptake, preparedness for, and effectiveness of GCRA with high-risk Latinas. The findings will inform the standard of care relevant to breast cancer prevention using individualized genetic data and culturally competent strategies to boost breast cancer prevention and risk reduction among underserved women.

For Latinas, GCRA could be serving a more prominent role in their decision making process, and providing them with individualized recommendations for cancer screening and risk reduction. As seen earlier this year with actress and activist Angelina Jolie, quantifying personal and family cancer risk through genetic tests enables patients to choose from a wide range of risk reduction preventative actions and procedures, such as chemoprevention or surgery. It can also motivate individuals to increase self-examinations and check-ups and make healthier lifestyle choices.

As Ms. Jolie rightly pointed out in her New York Times op-ed piece, “[My Medical Choice,” compared to her, low-income, underinsured, and minority individuals have limited access to GCRA services. Facilitating access for high-risk, underserved Latinas who have a disproportionate burden of cancer and risk is vital if we are to address health care disparities in the community and begin to reduce their breast cancer incidence and mortality rates.

In addition to these disparities, Latinas are often their own worst enemy. “Studies show that Latinas are more likely than non-Latina whites to fear cancer and to
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