Science & Medicine: The Avanzando Caminos Hispanic cancer survivor study
Nearly 70 percent of San Antonio’s population is Hispanic, said Amelie Ramirez, who holds a doctorate in public health and is chair of Population Health Sciences at UT Health San Antonio, and that population is being hit particularly hard by cancer.
“Cancer is now the leading cause of death for our Hispanic population,” Ramirez said.
“What we're finding is, even though they have predominantly breast and prostate cancer, they also had some other types of cancers that were higher in our South Texas region compared to the rest of Texas,” she said. “For example: liver cancer, stomach cancer and gallbladder cancers.”
Ramirez also leads the Institute for Health Promotion Research. She is focused on learning ways to not only prevent and better treat cancer in the Hispanic population, but also to improve the lives of cancer survivors.
“No study had been funded to really look at the needs of our Latino cancer survivors. We're the first study to be doing this," she said. "And they are so grateful to us because they said, 'nobody's bothered to ask me about my cancer journey.'”
The study is called Avanzando Caminos, and UT Health San Antonio ultimately wants to enroll 1,500 Hispanic cancer survivors from South Texas in this study.
“Our big goal is to really have more equitable care for everyone, not only in South Texas, but nationwide, and that their outcomes for survival are also improved,” she said.
Ramirez added that Hispanic South Texans can help her achieve that goal by enrolling in trials and studies when they have the opportunity. If you are a cancer survivor who would like to enroll in Avanzando Caminos, you can find more information here.
Science & Medicine is a collaboration between TPR and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, about how scientific discovery in San Antonio advances the way medicine is practiced everywhere.