IN OCTOBER, THE HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL OF CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA[R] (CTCA) UNVEILED A PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN--!NO ESPERES!--TO CHANGE LATINO BEHAVIORS AROUND PREVENTATIVE HEALTHCARE.
THE !NO ESPERES! campaign originated with the CTCA[R] Hispanic Advisory Council (HAC) as a response to the harsh realities of cancer in the Hispanic community. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 Hispanic men and 1 in 3 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Cancer is also recognized as the leading cause of death among Hispanics.
Accomplished medical professional and chairperson of the HAC, Dr. Elena Rios, is leading the !No Esperes! movement. Rios has been at the forefront of Latino health policy and advocacy since the first Clinton Administration, in which she served as an advisor on women's and minority health.
Currently president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), an organization dedicated to empowering Hispanic physicians to lead efforts that improve the health of Hispanic and other underserved populations, Rios draws upon decades of experience to help guide the !No Esperes! campaign. With it, she hopes to address what she considers a silent crisis: overly passive Latino attitudes and practices toward cancer screening, preventative healthcare and disease in general.
"We want this campaign to gain traction and start a national movement that changes the way our community thinks about prevention and early detection," says Rios.
"Especially among the older generation, there is a tendency to think fatalistically about cancer--that it is in God's hands, or that it is a death sentence. We need family and community models to help Latinos approach the subject more constructively and take respoasibility for their health."
Rios believes that the campaign must address certain cultural barriers that keep many Latinos from getting regular screenings. The reward of detecting cancer early through these screenings can be life-saving, opening up a wider range of treatment options and increasing the chance of improving outcomes.
"In our community, there's a stigma around cancer; people don't want to talk...