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Latina women breaking the mold to lower health disparities

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Posted at 10:47 AM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 14:30:53-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Many families in Southern California are celebrating mothers on Tuesday, as it is Dia de las Madres, otherwise known as Mexican Mother's Day. For Latina women and mothers, it is a reminder of the health inequities that they face.

Lupe Corona, a North County mother says that she is hoping to break the mold for her daughter's generation, and move away from the stigma of getting annual check-ups, and looking for help.

Corona says that since a young age, she observed her family members and saw how reserved they were in either asking for help, or getting it for themselves.

She hopes that by setting the example in prioritizing her own health, other Latina women can also see that it is a decision that is in the best interest for everyone.

Lupe Corona is a second generation Mexican who has grown up in San Diego. During her first pregnancy, doctors told her and her husband, that their baby girl would be born with her intestines outside of her body.

Corona says she only knew that because she prioritized her check-ups.

“It also brings light to always get tested, always get blood work, no matter what," Corona states. "And always just stick to your gun.”

Corona says she's observed among Latina family and friends, even her mother in law, the stigma around talking about health issues, and the fear in going to the doctor.

“She died within four months when she probably had cancer for nine years, and we didn’t even know about it. She didn’t even know about it," explains Corona.

It is a truth that's even been observed at clinics like San Ysidro Health.

“The patient received an abnormal mammogram and many times they don’t want to come back, to be able to get follow-up on that," said Rosa Sandoval, the Manager of the Women's Health department in San Ysidro Health.

She furthers, "But it’s so important to know that getting that follow-up care in a timely manner can be the difference in the end result.”

Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis says that she's observed Latina women in the South Bay put others health needs before their own.

“It’s not done intentionally but when you have everyone else’s appointments, work or other things that take priority you may not be making your own appointments for dental work, your obgyn," says Sotelo-Solis, "To help keep momma functioning.”

She knows it firsthand.

Sotelo-Solis says that a friend spotted a mole on her arm that look abnormal. Two weeks later she went to get it checked out, “Found out I had melanoma, skin cancer, and it was in it’s earliest stages. And if I had not gone it could have evolved into something worse.”

According to the CDC, cancer is the number one illness found among Latina women.

Corona hopes her generation can set the example for young women like her daughter, to seek an expert's opinion when you feel something is off.

“We are trying to take care of ourselves," says Corona. "Whatever we need to do to break that mold, talk about it.”

San Ysidro hosts events year round. On May 23rd, they will be at Northgate Market hosting a free mammogram event.

To sign up, you can call 619-662-4100 ext. 3226.