Report: Cancer leading killer of Hispanics

Experts say many of those deaths could have been prevented

Published On: May 28 2013 05:38:34 PM CDT   Updated On: May 28 2013 05:43:42 PM CDT
Hispanics and Cancer

Cancer is ranked as the No. 1 leading cause of death among Hispanics, according to a recent study by the American Cancer Society.

However, experts say many of those deaths could have been prevented.

According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Hispanics often avoid seeing a doctor until it's too late. 

Although cancer incidence is lower in Hispanics, they have the highest mortality rate. 

Elena Roman, with Cancer Treatment Centers of America, believes cultural upbringing may be to blame.

"We think that we can handle most everything. Hispanics are like that. I'm like that and I don't take care of myself as much as I should and I think it's important that we learn to change that attitude and change that culture," said Roman.

Many types of cancer can be treated if they are diagnosed early. Roman said many Hispanic men and women often wait to see a doctor and, as a result, aren't diagnosed until cancer has reached an advanced stage.

Anna Maria Herrera-Guerra, 74, was diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago. 

She said she understands why Hispanics are less likely to seek preventative care.

"We were raised not to discuss anything, and that included the illnesses," she said. "Even though you're sick, you still don't want to go to the doctor."

Herrera-Guerra was fortunate enough to receive treatment in time and is now considered a survivor.      

Roman hopes more Hispanics will seek treatment, despite their upbringing and beliefs.

"Take care of (yourself," she said. "You can't take care of others unless you're on top of your own health and well-being. Salud is the only thing that we have."

For a list of recent stories Eileen Gonzales has done, click here.