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Sussex Countian
  • Latina breast health focus of bilingual forum

  • The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s second-annual bilingual Latina Breast Health Forum at Grace United Methodist Church on South King Street in Georgetown from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.


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  • Adelia Marroquin-Jerez lost her father and sister to cancer and was concerned about her own health.

    But lacking health insurance, the 46-year-old Georgetown resident did not know where to turn until last year when one of her three children brought home a flyer for "Vida!," the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s first-annual bilingual Latina Breast Health Forum.

    Marroquin-Jerez, who speaks only Spanish, received a free mammogram at the event that revealed a small cyst in her breast. She has since undergone a biopsy and been ruled cancer free, but will return to a doctor every six months for further checks.

    “I thank the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and God for that experience,” she said last week through a translator. “I’m so happy I went and I would tell other women to take care of their health and get a mammogram. Prevention is life.”

    Marroquin-Jerez will discuss her personal journey during the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s second-annual bilingual Latina Breast Health Forum at Grace United Methodist Church on South King Street in Georgetown from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

    Sunny Villafane, the coalition’s bilingual screening navigator, said Marroquin-Jerez is exactly the type of woman the forum is trying to reach.

    “Many women don’t see how important it is to get screenings, but in the Hispanics community there are additional difficulties, such as the language barrier and a lack of insurance or being under-insured,” she said. “That’s why we’re offering these screenings for free and pretty much all of the vendors will either have someone there who is bilingual or, at least, will have bilingual.”

    Saturday’s event will feature free screenings for skin cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as clinical breast exams and mammograms. Mammograms will be limited to women older than 40 and must be scheduled in advance by calling Women’s Mobile Health Screening at 1-888-672-9647. A prescription from a medical professional also is required for a mammogram to be scheduled. Villafane said anyone who does not receive a free screening on Saturday would be given an appointment on another day.

    The forum also will feature an educational scavenger hunt and a free lunch.

    In addition to Marroquin-Jerez, prostate cancer survivors Eli Valenzuela and David Sauls also are scheduled to speak.

    Last year’s event attracted more than 250 attendees and Villafane said she is expecting even more this year.

    “In the past, we heard a lot of people say they never heard of DBCC even though we’ve been around for a long time,” she said. “Now that we’re focusing on Sussex County more and more, people have started telling me that they hear about it everywhere they go.”

    Co-sponsors of the event include Beebe Medical Center, United Methodist Betel, La Tonalteca, Maxima 900 AM Radio and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

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