Latinas and Breast & Cervical Cancer

12% of all women will get diagnosed with breast cancer, and of those 3.5% will die

There is a lower incidence rate for Latinas, but they are more likely to have large tumors and metastatic cancer

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in Latina women

About 70 per 100,000 Hispanic women develop breast cancer a year

Only about 40% of Hispanic women are utilizing mammography

In a study comparing Latinas (803 Latinas) to Anglo women (422 Anglos):

  • 71% of Latinas compared to 39% of Anglos are under the misconception that breast trauma increases the risk of developing breast cancer
  • 27% of Latinas compared to 6% of Anglos are under the misconception that breast fondling increases the risk of developing breast cancer
  • 89% of Latinas compared to 98% of Anglos know that lumps of the breast could indicate breast cancer
  • 69% of Latinas compared to 88% of Anglos know that bloody breast discharge could indicate breast cancer

Q: What factors affect these statistics?

A: Cultural beliefs as well as "too little" knowledge of breast cancer symptoms, risks and prevention

Findings found in: Latinas and breast cancer. The Western Journal of Medicine, v164 n5 p405, May 1996.

Cervical Cancer:

Latinas have the highest rates of cervical cancer of all groups of women. Latinas also are more likely to die from cervical cancer than non-Hispanic whites. Lack of screening is an important factor behind this disparity. In fact, 6 in 10 cervical cancers occur in women who have never received a Pap test or have not been tested in the past five years.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program program provides free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening to women who don't have health insurance. To learn more about this program, please contact the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or you can contact our office at 415-584-3444.