Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Latina Breast Cancer Facts Prevenir es Vida outline of woman

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Latina Facts
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Prevalence of breast cancer in Latinas:

Only 70 per 100,000 Hispanic women per year get breast cancer. Latinas have a low prevalence of breast cancer because they tend to smoke less, drink less, and eat healthier. Other factors that protect Latinas and make them less at risk of getting cancer are early and multiple pregnancies, and low dietary fat intake. Latinas also have the lowest rates of breast cancer among other minority groups including Whites. Although Latinas are less likely to get breast cancer, when they do get it they are more likely to die from it because they tend to be diagnosed at later stages, when the cancer is harder to combat.

Obstacles to Overcome:

Educating Latinas about the importance of breast cancer is a major obstacle. Lack of insurance prevents many Latinas from getting information about breast cancer and screening. There are also few bilingual education programs that help the Latino community. Latinas need to be educated but there are not enough recourses being provided.


Not being able to communicate in the same language as the health official keeps many Latinas from acquiring information. Latinas often feel more comfortable talking in Spanish when discussing personal issues, but many times the doctor does not speak the language. Some women feel intimidated and choose not to go visit a doctor. Cultural barrier also need to be overcome. In some Latino homes women are taught that it is unacceptable to examine their bodies. For that reason many Latinas do not self exam themselves regularly.


Some women believe that breast cancer can come from hurting ones breast like when bumping into something. Another myth is that breast cancer can be caused by a bruise on the breast. Some Latina women believe they can get breast cancer from touching their breast too much or even having a mammogram too often. Latinas also believe that if you talk too much about breast cancer, then it is most likely to happen.


To further understand how breast cancer affects Latinas, visit and view the article, The Silence of Breast Cancer in Hispanic and Latino World .

Visit to find an article on how Exercise Can Prevent Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women .

Works Cited

Aguirre-Molina, Marilyn, Carlos W. Molina, and Ruth Enid Zambrana. Health Issues in the Latino Community. 2001.

Szkupinski-Quiroga, Seline. Lecture on "Cancer". CCS 331-Contemporary Issues in Latino Health. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Feb. 25, 2004.

Amelie Ramirez, MD; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation National Hispanic/ Latino Advisory Council. Healthology Press. The Silence of Breast Cancer in Hispanic and Latino World.



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This site was created by Charlene Ruiz in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2004.