U.S. and Mexico Team Up to Fight Breast Cancer

By: Lisa Coleman

Breast cancer has no borders. For those of us who have had friends and family struggle with this disease, we know how important the fight is. Luckily, the U.S. has launched an extremely successful campaign to promote awareness in this country. We have made pink ribbons fashionable and we have teams of friends who never miss “Race for the Cure.”  We have made significant progress and finally breast cancer deaths are decreasing while the number of cases caught early is on the rise.

 Unfortunately, in Mexico, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and the numbers are going up. According to Mexico’s Cancer Institute, 35 women a day are diagnosed with breast cancer. In 32 of those women, the stages are advanced and the success of treatment is reduced.  Further stats show that 258 women between the ages of 30 and 40 will discover they have breast cancer in the next 10 years… most of which will be advanced cases.

Last Friday (March 14th), first lady Laura Bush met with Mexico’s first lady, Margarita Zavala, in an effort to join forces against the disease in Mexico. The partnership will work towards promoting early detection and will offer medical resources from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas and the educational resources of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Zavala blames poor education and lack of information about the disease for low numbers of cases found through early detection. Mexico’s survivors told the first ladies that breast exams were not a regular part of the annual gynecological exams and that many women didn’t have mammograms due to high costs and lack of facilities.

Women are powerful people… (I think most men will agree!) and once we put our minds to something, we usually get it done! My hope is this union to fight breast cancer will have a profound impact on the lives of Mexican women. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Great job ladies!