Since 1994, the Prevent Cancer Foundation has partnered with Spanish Catholic Center in Washington, DC, to implement ¡Celebremos la vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life!), a program that provides culturally sensitive breast and cervical cancer education and screening to medically underserved Hispanic women age 40 and over. In 2004, the program expanded to Family Health Partnership Clinic in McHenry County, Illinois and four years later, Spanish Catholic Center expanded the program to its clinic in Langley Park, Maryland, which later relocated to Silver Spring, Maryland. (The Foundation also partnered with Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University from 1996 to 2017.)
The program focuses on underserved Hispanic women who may not be able to access breast or cervical screenings, or education because of geographical location, language, lack of insurance or a trusted provider, or family obligations that may deter them from being screened. The Celebremos women receive free/low cost cancer screenings in a setting that is culturally appropriate and nurturing. This environment encourages women to return for yearly check-ups, take care of their health and promote the message of cancer prevention and early detection to other women in their families and community.
As of June 2023, the ¡Celebremos la Vida! Program has provided over:
• 20,962 mammograms and diagnostic tests
• 13,652 cervical screenings and Pap follow-up tests
• 20,735 women, friends, and family members received culturally appropriate breast and cervical cancer education
Since the start of ¡Celebremos la Vida!, our program has detected 92 cases of breast or cervical cancer, and all have received or are currently receiving treatment.
Dorys Lizama, ¡Celebremos la Vida! clinic coordinator of the Catholic Charities Medical Center, shares with us why the program is important to the Latino community in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. For over two decades, the program has provided hope to Latinas by encouraging them to return for their yearly breast and cervical cancer screenings. Having this long-standing program in the community not only inspires trust but also promotes the message of cancer prevention or early detection.