PROMOTING LATINA INVOLVEMENT
IN CLINICAL TRIALS
Eve Sanchez Silver
Cinta Latina Research
For every woman who has faced down the barrel of a nuclear accelerator or sat
hugging a toilet, while throwing up her shoes, breast cancer, is a personal
thing. It is, after all, an issue of ownership: "My cancer has progressed."
"My cancer is in remission."
As a woman advances through the stages of breast cancer, has recurrences, faces
more elaborate treatments, experiences less support and greater anxiety, issues relating to the length of her life and the prospect of death rise up. Each erosive step in dealing with breast cancer shaves away autonomy, fractures self-image, sloughs away parts of her body and alienates her from the well-remembered woman in the mirror. She is, forever changed.
For the Latina woman self-image and self-assurance are no less critical. We are
proud, passionate, beautiful; a matriarchal society, pasando el baston
(passing the baton) from mother to daughter. Among Webster's definitions for
the word "leader" is: One who has the principle role in a dramatic production.
Oh yes. That's Perfect. That's us.
Involvement in clinical trials is important; for all the reasons we know to be true, for all the women who need it. Too few Latinas are enrolled in clinicaltrials nation wide. There is a wall, a barrier to understanding and participation built of the fears others have instilled in us in the past, and our own current misapprehensions. Prejudice has not died. There is a wall on the other side too. Dr. Antonia Novello, Surgeon General of New York State remarks,
"Just because I speak with an accent, don't believe I think with an accent."
It is important to impart to other Latinas the information critical for their deeper understanding of the novel and adjuvant therapies, available to aid them and the others coming up fast behind them. This is war and Death itself takes the hindmost. We must be proactive in our own healing and well being. We must be faithful to ourselves.
Today we are poised at the brink of so many wonderful new prospects and of
changing the lives of women with breast cancer. We have only just arrived at
the threshold of the posssible. But there are many more Latinas now, then there ever were before. There are many fine clinical trials yet to come. What if Latina women taking part in these new clinical trials, by virtue of our numbers, carry us all over the wall?
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© Created July 4, 2002