For the past several years, Hollywood’s Stand Up To Cancer charity has raised millions for those struggling with the deadly disease. But, as we all know, cancer isn’t just centralized to the United States. It affects people all over the world and has a strong presence in Latin America. That’s part of the reason SUTC has extended its campaign into Spanish-speaking countries with Unido Contra El Cancer.
Ana Maria Polo is one of the first high-profile Latinas to attach herself to the cause. Known as the Hispanic Judge Judy, Polo hosts a hugely popular Español court show called Caso Cerrado and is seen as a role model for her sharp wit and legal expertise. Now she’s using her fame to help spread awareness.
“In 2008, five years after being operated for breast cancer, I saw an event on television that was on all the channels. It was Stand Up to Cancer,” she said. “When I looked into it and saw what it was all about, I realized that we Latinos need to be more informed about that organization.”
You can see clips of Ana Maria on the UCEC website, sharing her story and encouraging viewers to pledge their support (by purchasing a sporty t-shirt). But Polo’s colorful video is just part of the online UCEC experience. Visitors can also learn about medical breakthroughs, read cancer-related blogs, and sign up for UCEC tweets.
Interestingly, Ana Maria’s news comes on the heels of some discouraging stats. According to Reuters, Latinos are less likely to get checked out for cancers than Anglo Americans (which makes the awareness campaign even more important). Their study showed that Hispanics are generally 26 percent less likely to screen themselves for colon cancer than Anglos.
Heather Orom, a researcher who was mentioned in the study, seemed to think that language barriers may play a role.
“It seems very plausible that this is not happening for Latinos because of access barriers and language barriers,” she said. “We don’t know if those messages about family history and risk are resonating culturally with Latinos.”
Hopefully some stern lectures from Judge Polo will ease their discomfort about getting checked out.
By Michael Lopez