American Cancer Society raises awareness

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The American Cancer Society hosted workshops and a health fair in Santa Ana on Friday to inform Latina women about breast and cervical cancer.

Assortments of booths were at the event, with the majority being focused on senior citizen issues. The organizations included The Council on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association. Lunch and entertainment were provided, with a live band performing on stage.

The event started off with a morning walk-a-thon, where the participants were able to walk around the neighborhood before the health fair started.

The workshops were held at the Santa Ana Senior Center, and were primarily geared to a Spanish-speaking audience.

Qualified participants in the health fair were given free consultations and on-site mammograms.

Latina women are traditionally the least likely of all racial and ethnic groups to use preventive services such as mammography, pap tests and clinical breast exams, according to an American Cancer Society press release.

Helen Tafolla, a Yorba Linda resident and volunteer, came to the fair to sign women up for mammograms.

“I’ve had problems in the past with my breasts, and you never know when it can turn to cancer,” she said.

The Alzheimer Association booth offered pamphlets that provided information on the warning signs of the disease.

“We offer educational programs, resources, financial planning, references to doctors, support groups for families and a 24 hour help-line,” said Vanessa Romo, an intern for the association.

The American Cancer Society partnered with the City of Santa Ana Health Outreach for the event. The society is a nation-wide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.

Alice Holscher, a Yorba Linda resident, took time out to volunteer, because she wanted to give back to Orange County and senior citizen community.

“I’m a senior myself and I wanted to give my time to this,” she said. “I am a retired nurse and I can help with my health knowledge.”

Another organization that hosted a booth was the Council on Aging. The program they were promoting was HICAP, which is a Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. The program’s pamphlet went into detail about a new issue affecting senior citizens, with a new drug benefit to the Medicare program that will go into effect in January.

Despite the fair offering a variety of services and information to the community, the topic that was at the forefront was getting Latina women informed about breast and cervical cancer.

The low use of preventive measures and screening contributed to more than 13,200 new breast cancer cases and 5,400 new cervical and uterus cancer cases between 1997 and 2001 among Latina women in California, according to the American Cancer Society press release.

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