Cancer is a tough topic that many would prefer to avoid. Cancer disparities present a particular challenge among underserved populations in our communities. The cancer incidence rate for Hispanic and African-American people continues to rise — for a variety of complex reasons, according to the National Cancer Institute. Income, education level, occupation, lack of health care coverage and low socioeconomic status can all be contributors. Further, where people live can influence their access to care and the likelihood of being diagnosed earlier, rather than with later stage disease that is more difficult to treat.
Talking about cancer, its prevention and cancer screening can help everyone learn to take action to improve their health. Froedtert & MCW community outreach coordinators Gigi Sanchez and Janine Tucker hope to shift the conversation and decrease cancer disparities by helping people better understand the role cancer screening, prevention and education play in a proactive approach to health.
“We work with senior housing programs and community centers, and we do a lot of health fairs,” said Tucker, who focuses on Milwaukee’s African-American community. “The goal is to increase awareness, provide screening opportunities, help people access medical care and navigate them through care as needed.”
Tucker’s colleague provides similar outreach within the Hispanic community in Milwaukee. As needed, both work with Yvonne Montero, a patient navigator from the American Cancer Society, who helps patients at the Froedtert & MCW Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital campus.
“Our bilingual patient navigator helps cancer patients with a variety of services to make care more accessible such as arranging transportation for treatment,” Sanchez said.
By making the most of the screening and other available opportunities, patients can have a stronger voice in their own health care.
Learn more about current cancer screening recommendations.