Susan G. Komen enlightens Palm Beach County’s Hispanic women on breast cancer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The probability of someone within your close circle being diagnosed with cancer this year is quite high. According to national statistics, one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer. However, for Hispanic women in the United States, breast cancer stands as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Nicole Smith, a dance teacher and Crossfit athlete, found herself facing a sudden and unexpected challenge. “Nobody thought cancer. No one,” Smith expressed. Her life had been going well until this curveball was thrown her way.

Initially, doctors suspected arthritis due to her joint pain and swelling. However, it wasn’t until about six months later that tenderness and discharge from her breast raised concerns. “I was young. Just turned 30. No genetic history. Don’t smoke,” Smith shared. Despite receiving two ultrasounds that showed no abnormalities and being treated for a staph infection, her condition did not improve. Finally, Smith underwent her first mammogram, and her premonition came true. “I remember walking a short distance from one door to the other, and I looked at my sister and I was like, they’re going to tell me I have breast cancer,” Smith recalled. And indeed, the surgeon confirmed her suspicion.

Smith is among the 29% of Hispanic women, totaling 24,000 individuals, who are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year. Recognizing the barriers faced by minority populations, such as work schedules and transportation, the Susan G. Komen foundation has focused its efforts on areas like Palm Beach County. The foundation aims to ensure that individuals from these communities receive necessary screenings, especially during the pandemic when many postponed their appointments. Jaime Bellamy, the development director at Susan G. Komen, emphasized this concern, stating, “One of the concerns that we have at Komen is that there are a lot of people that put off their screenings.”

After enduring four rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Smith has successfully overcome stage two cancer and currently shows no evidence of the disease. Her cup is now full, serving as a small reminder of the badge she wears with pride.

If you wish to contribute to the fight against cancer, you can participate in the Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk taking place on Saturday in downtown West Palm Beach. For more information on how to get involved, click here.

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