Diane Soto-Dismuke is one Latina of the non-profit group Amigas Unidas that has been advocating early detection because the sooner a woman finds out her diagnosis, the greater her chances for recovery.
In their last home game of the year, the Lorain County Ironmen will square off with the Slippery Rock Sliders at 7:05 p.m., at the Pipe Yard Stadium, 2840 Meister Road, Lorain.
But before the game, participants can enjoy a steak fry at 6 p.m. and corn-hole tournament at 7 p.m. A special tribute will honor the many local breast cancer survivors. Among them is breast cancer survivor Marylin Laboy, 40, who will throw the first ceremonial pitch.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Night is also presented by Lorain is Pro Baseball Boosters, and Amigas Unidas - a Certified Breast Health Advocate from the Women’s Health Center at Lorain’s Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Every one in three women diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Latina women have a lower incidence of breast cancer than white women, but they are more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors and late stage breast cancer than white women, according to the Susan G. Komen study.
And according to the same study, white women have a higher rate of developing breast cancer than any other racial or ethnic group. But among African-American women under age 40, they have a higher incidence of breast cancer than white women, and are also more likely to be diagnosed with larger tumors. The Komen group explains one reason for the differences among the racial groups could lie in different breast cancer screening practices.
Even though white women get breast cancer at a higher rate, African-Americans and Latinas are more likely to die from the disease, according to Susan G. Komen.
Lorain County was identified as a high risk community for breast cancer, and one of the top counties in Northeast Ohio where women are in most need of breast cancer health services, according to a report by the Susan G. Komen for Cure Northeast Ohio Affiliate.
Experts say a breast cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence today but a late detection reduces the chances for recovery.
“Tumors can start off real small, and go undetected,” Soto-Dismuke said “Once it gets bigger, it might be too late,” she said.
But statistics show Latinas are not checking up; They do not perform self breast exams regularly or receive mammogram testing.
“Statistics show Latinas and minorities in general don't get check ups. They don't get mammograms,” said Soto-Dismuke, “A lot of it is fear, not knowing where to go. I come from a big Latino family and I remember we didn't discuss things like that in our home,” she said.
She stresses early detection is key.
“It’s all about knowledge. Don’t wait. You can’t wait. You can be too late. Sometimes there are no signs,” she said.
Soto-Dismuke, also involved with Sacred Heart parish’s nursing program, said there is still a stigma surrounding the topic but she emphasizes women cannot afford to be afraid.
Amigas Unidas is a non-profit group established in 2001 that helps qualifying women without health insurance to receive free access to breast cancer screenings, mammograms at Mercy’s Women's Health Center, Soto-Dismuke said. Everything remains confidential, and they have a bilingual, Latina staff, she said.
“So there is no excuse not to get checked up,” Soto-Dismuke said. “There are free services for women without health insurance. We want to offer them an early detection program.”
Experts advise women should perform self breast exams at least once a month. The non-profit offers literature and diagrams on how to properly perform these exams and will provide them at Friday’s event, she said.
Experts say women at average risk should have a mammogram every year, starting at age 40, and have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
Younger women should also consider getting a mammogram if they are at high risk, Soto-Dismuke said.
Experts recommend women under 40 years with a family history of breast cancer should visit their family doctor for a complete physical exam every year, and then have their doctor recommend if and how often they should receive a mammogram test.
At Amigas Unidas “Here women can say I found a friend. I can talk to someone,” Soto-Dismuke said. The Night is also the Fan Appreciation Game, where local talent will be recognized including the Lorain Youth Baseball Champions from the Minor, Major, and F Divisions, and the current undefeated Lorain High Class E Hot Stove baseball team.
Game Tickets and admission is $5, the Steak Fry and admission is $20 or the Corn Hole Tourny and admission is $10.
Call the Women's Health Center's Amigas Unidas at (440) 960-3624 to find out if you qualify for a free check up.
See Mercy Regional Medical Center, 3700 Kolbe Road, Lorain, online: http://www.mercyonline.org/womens_health_center_overview.aspx
Lorain County Ironmen: http://www.lcironmenbaseball.com/
For tickets contact City of Lorain (440) 204-2020, or Lorain County Ironmen (440) 522-9549. See more contact numbers on flyer.