EDINBURG, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley is known for being an under served area. According to a physician at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, the lack of access to medical services increases the rate of breast cancer for Valley women.
Dr. Laura Fonseca, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, “There’s plenty of doctors but not enough. Hopefully we’re getting there. But yes, the Valley is one of the places where not only screening for breast cancer, but also cervical cancer is kind of ranging in the lower rate.”
Cancer is one of the top leading causes of death in the United States with breast cancer being the second most common type. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 16,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in Texas in 2016. With 3,000 of them, not surviving.
“Know your breast and if there’s any changes in the skin color, the texture, any discharge let your gynecologist know.” Says Dr. Fonseca.
Dr. Fonseca says smoking and obesity among other factors feed this type of cancer. “Anything that increases our exposure to estrogen can increase our risk of cancer.” She adds, although not common, men are also exposed to breast cancer. “Why we’re trying to do the mammograms starting at age 40, to detect before we start having symptoms, but unfortunately men because it’s not as common it’s whenever they see a breast lump or they feel their breast is enlarging.”
If you’re over the age of 25 doctors recommend getting a mammogram everyone to three years. For those over the age of 40, the recommendation is every year to help prevent this type of cancer.
Those diagnosed with breast cancer without insurance can receive federal assistance and treatment at no cost if eligible, through the Emergency Medicaid insurance.