Inspiring Latina of the Week: Breast Cancer Awareness Advocate Monique Barraza

What do you think that Latinas should know about breast cancer, that they may not be aware of?  

Many Latinas are still unaware of breast cancer. Eight years ago when I started the foundation, I would set up at every single farmers market and community events where there was a strong Latino presence. I would pass out literature and information about the foundation and talk to the community about breast cancer. Many people didn't even know they could get cancer in their breast and did not know how to do a simple self breast exam. I was amazed and knew that I had to educate the Latina community. From that day forward I have made it my life's mission to educate all Latinas. I literally was all over the streets of Los Angeles talking to the community and offering my support to families fighting cancer. 

A few years ago, I was mentoring a young lady in my community, she would do field work with me and visit families affected by cancer. Both parents migrated from Mexico and speak very little English. One day she was asking me lots of questions and where you can go for a free mammogram. She then told me that everything she had been learning , she was telling her mom, and her mom then told her about a lump she found on her breast that had been there for about a year. She said that if I had not educated her about the importance of breast cancer, her mom may have never went to the doctor to get checked . We later found out it was breast cancer, and she was treated and is now living cancer free. 

I want every Latina to know that breast cancer is an issue that most Latinas do not talk about with other women. It can sometimes be difficult to talk about breast cancer, but every woman should know how breast cancer can affect her. Early detection is KEY to saving lives. 

Why is it important to you influence the Latino community your work?  

My works serves to empower all Latinas. Being Latina is everything I am. I love my community. I have made it my life's mission to be an advocate and a voice for all Latinas in the fight against breast cancer. 

I have a fashion background and produce fashion shows and events, and I always seem to incorporate my sense of style and Latina culture. I am producing a fashion line and a collection of empowerment shirts geared towards Latinas and breast cancer coming out Spring 2014. 

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