Oct 21 2015

Early breast cancer detection in Chile

Ingrid, mother of formerly sponsored child Yanko, participated in the breast cancer detection exams through the Unbound health campaign.

Ingrid, mother of formerly sponsored child Yanko, participated in the breast cancer detection exams through the Unbound health campaign.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. And when detected early, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent.

For many living in poverty with no health benefits, early detection and proper care isn’t an option.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Because of this, Unbound’s Valparaiso office in Chile created a way to help mothers of sponsored children get mammograms so they can detect early signs of the disease.

So far, about 130 mothers have received the test, but the Unbound staff estimates around 700 mothers will be part of the breast cancer screening.

Sara Pizarro, project coordinator for Unbound in Valparaiso, said that treatment and medicine to treat breast cancer is free in Chile, but the process of getting an exam and treatment is very slow and can take a long time. A lack of advanced technology and limited access to specialists adds to the problem.

“In this kind of illness,” Sara said, “early detection and treatment makes a difference between life and death.”

The Unbound staff helps facilitate exams for the mothers by partnering with a local nonprofit medical office in the area, which is certified by Chile’s health department. The Unbound staff organizes appointment dates and times for the mothers and also arranges for a lower fee of just $25 for the exams.

The mothers also receive support through group meetings with other moms and Unbound staff members. They discuss the importance of early detection and talk about any fears they may have about getting the test.

“The Unbound staff accompanies and supports her,” Sara said. “We also offer support in her immediate needs such as exams, medicine, transportation to other cities in case other specialists are needed, special food provisions, etc.”

Ingrid is 42 years old and the mother of formerly sponsored child Yanko, who graduated from the sponsorship program in 2015.

Ingrid took advantage of the mammogram appointments through Unbound and has been examined twice through this health campaign.

“One is always afraid of cancer,” Ingrid said. “When I have gotten the test, I always think of my family, my children. I want to see them grow, see them form their own families. I am afraid of not being able to meet my future grandchildren. I don’t want to miss any part of my life.

“I know of mothers who don’t want to take the test because they are afraid of a bad result, but I tell them that the sooner you know about an illness, the higher possibilities one has to recover.”

Through sponsorship, families have access to better health care, such as early breast cancer detection. Offer your support and sponsor a child today.

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