A ¡Celebremos la vida! Success Story

October 19, 2010

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Following up on last week’s post about the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s nomination as a City Finalist for the StayClassy Charity of the Year Award for its continuing support of the ¡Celebremos la vida! program, the Foundation would like to share a wonderful story sent to us by Mary Wozniak, MPH, Celebremos  Program Coordinator at the Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, DC. In her own words, Mary tells the story of “Mrs. M.,” a Celebremos patient:

Mrs.  M., a 44 year old patient, came to the Spanish Catholic Center for her annual checkup and Pap smear in April. The doctor counseled her about her risk of breast cancer, and the benefits and risks of getting a screening mammogram. The patient made an informed decision with her physician to have a screening mammogram. She was referred to the ¡Celebremos la vida! program for her mammogram, through the George Washington Mammovan. As she did not have medical insurance, and is low-income, she may not have been able to obtain a screening mammogram and pap smear without this program.

During the mammogram visit, she received culturally appropriate education in Spanish from the ¡Celebremos la vida! Coordinator about cancer screenings and how to reduce her risk of cancer. Her mammogram came back abnormal, and she had additional mammogram views at the George Washington Hospital. When that mammogram came back suspicious for cancer, the Celebremos Coordinator assisted Mrs. M. in obtaining medical insurance to cover the cost of a biopsy. The Coordinator assisted the patient every step of the way, by explaining test results and procedures, filling out forms in English, scheduling appointments, and providing emotional support to the patient and her husband.

Mrs.  M.  was referred to a bilingual surgeon who recommended breast surgery. The patient has received her surgery last week, which went smoothly. She is pending the pathology results. Mrs. M. called the Celebremos Coordinator the day after her surgery to thank the Spanish Catholic Center for all the assistance and compassion they offered her throughout the process. The Celebremos Coordinator will continue to follow her closely and navigate her through any necessary follow-up or treatment.

We received this update on September 21, 2010:
I spoke with Mrs. M. today. Her surgery went smoothly, and confirmed that she does not have cancer.  She is doing very well and is back to work since her breast surgery.  She expressed her gratefulness to the center, the patient navigator and the doctors for all the help they have offered her.  She will have one follow-up mammogram in December to ensure stability, and should be back to routine screening after that.

Mrs. M.’s story reminds us that navigating the health care system can be a very frightening experience, especially when you are not insured or a native English speaker. Celebremos coordinators play a crucial role in providing emotional support and assistance with scheduling appointments, filling out forms and explaining test results.

To read more about Celebremos and its impact on underserved Hispanic communities, click here.

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