Lending Strength and Courage
Breast Cancer Survivors Offer Support through Comadre a Comadre Program
Hispanic/Latina women in New Mexico are more likely to develop breast cancer than any other kind of cancer. They are also more likely than non-hispanic women to die from breast cancer. Many report seldom, if ever, having a mammogram.
The reasons for these disparities include cultural and language barriers, transportation issues, financial limitations, and inadequate access to breast care education and screening.
To address these concerns, Dr. Elba L. Saavedra (Ph.D., Health Education, COE, UNM) joined with other breast cancer survivors in 2003 to create the Comadre a Comadre Program. This community-based outreach program is housed within the COE.
In the Comadre a Comadre Program, women find education about breast care, emotional support, help with accessing healthcare, assistance with navigating the healthcare system, and information about financial resources.
Among Hispanic/Latina women, a comadre is a close friend, someone who is like a sister. This trusted advisor or mentor offers guidance and emotional support.
As part of the navigation component of the program, a Comadre volunteer accompanies a woman to healthcare appointments, makes sure she has access to information about her health, and follows up with phone calls to ensure proper care.
The staff and volunteers of the Comadre a Comadre Program, many of whom are breast cancer survivors themselves, know that facing cancer requires strength and courage, as well as the support of others. “These women know what this experience is like and what others are going through,” says Dr. Saavedra.
“These women know what this experience is like and what others are going through.”
—Elba L. Saavedra, Ph.D,
Director of Comadre a Comadre