Vail Health to host breast cancer educational event in Spanish |

Vail Health to host breast cancer educational event in Spanish

Event will detail importance of breast cancer prevention, breast health and ways to improve your overall health

Vail Health — in collaboration with Shaw Cancer Center, Sonnenalp Breast Center and MIRA — is hosting a free educational talk in Spanish on breast cancer prevention, signs, symptoms and how to schedule a mammogram. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Gypsum.
Vail Health/Courtesy Photo

The American Cancer Society estimates that just under 300,000 women will be diagnosed new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. The same projections approximate that about 43,700 women will die from breast cancer in 2023.

When it comes to women’s breast health, and preventing breast cancer and other issues, prevention and early intervention are critical. In an effort to increase education about breast cancer prevention, signs and symptoms, Vail Health’s Dr. Julie Barone is hosting an event on Tuesday, May 9, entirely in Spanish. Barone is a breast oncoplastic surgeon and the Medical Director of the Breast Care Program at Shaw Cancer Center.

“Learning about breast health is important,” Barone said. “You want to be aware that there’s breast health, it’s not just breast cancer. There’s other breast things that, if you’re aware of what’s going on with your own health and what’s normal, then you can oftentimes know what’s abnormal and get it checked out. Educating oneself on what are some normal breast things that can go on and what’s abnormal is important.”

The event — hosted in collaboration between Vail Health, Shaw Cancer Center, Sonnenalp Breast Center and MIRA — is meant to bring awareness to breast health and preventing breast cancer. The free educational event will provide dinner and child care.

The talk will go over breast cancer prevention, signs and symptoms as well as provide information on how to schedule a mammogram. Barone added that the event will be “interactive” as well, offering attendees the opportunity to ask questions, have discussions and learn.   

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With the event, Barone hopes to raise awareness around the importance of taking care of not just breast health, but overall health.

Overcoming barriers to care

Currently, in her work, Barone sees many perceived barriers to accessing care and hopes to address these and help women overcome them.

Time, she said, can be a big one.

“People who are managing a lot of family commitments — whether it’s job, school, other activities — they often put themselves last and then, therefore, won’t do anything until it’s really catastrophic or very late,” Barone said.

Cost of care, as well as lack of health insurance, can also serve as a significant barrier. However, Barone wants individuals to know that “we have means to help people here at Vail Health who might not have coverage but need coverage.”

“We’re here for you, we’re here for the community and we will figure out a way to help everybody.”

This includes Vail Health’s financial assistance program, which provides options for uninsured individuals and individuals who do not have sufficient resources to pay for services in an effort to minimize the financial burden.    

Another barrier can be fear of health care in general, something that, through her practice and through educational events like this, Barone hopes to shift the narrative on.

“Culturally, some people are afraid of doctors and health care and they’re maybe afraid that they might need something and something might come of it. So there’s a fear for a lot of people about inquiring or being proactive about their health,” Barone said.

For some, language can present a barrier within this. Be it advertising information or messages from doctors, “sometimes people might not be aware of something because it hasn’t been maybe advertised in their language or they haven’t heard it,” Barone said.

Barone is bilingual and will host the May 9 event only in Spanish as a way to reach the local Spanish-speaking population. Additionally, Barone said that the hospital also always has translators and interpreters available for patients.

“I like to create an environment where people can learn and be receptive to new messages,” she added. “There are doctors, like myself, who are totally approachable; anyone can ask me anything.”

The importance of breast health

However, even with these barriers, increasing education about breast health and breast cancer prevention is critical.  

This includes mammograms and breast examinations that can help find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat. The May talk will go over how to schedule these and provide more information on the screenings. While there are different time frames women should get these exams based on different risk factors (including family history), Barone encourages women to bring any questions to their doctor.  

Barone said the number one problem she sees with patients is that they’ve had a prior experience where they’re told not to worry about a concern.

“Sometimes some of those people go away saying, ‘Oh, I was told it was nothing, and so I don’t need to worry,'” she said. “I always advocate and say: If something is new to you and you’re told don’t worry about it, make sure that your doctor orders and you get an ultrasound or a mammogram, get some type of imaging.”

“If there is something wrong, don’t just take it at face value,” she added.

Further, not all breast masses show up in imaging, so even if imaging is negative but something still feels abnormal, “take it one step further to make sure that we’re not missing anything.”

“I want the community to know that if something’s really wrong, know that we have a specialist here in town who can see them and take care of them and really double check and make sure we’re not missing anything,” Barone added.

Beyond breast health, Barone also helps to share a message that simple lifestyle modifications can help individuals be healthier, and “translate to a lower risk of cancer.”

In a community where it’s easy to think that everyone is active, “there are a lot of people who are not active and live up in the mountains and aren’t able to take advantage of it or just don’t have an interest in that or don’t have the time,” Baron said.

“We have to figure out ways that everybody can kind of look at: How can I get more exercise in my life? How can I be healthier?” she added. “We all have to start somewhere. So I think this lecture will inspire people to think this is doable; I’m not telling people something that they can’t start incorporating into their lives that day.”

If you go…

What: Breast Cancer Prevention Talk in Spanish
When: Tuesday, May 9 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Gypsum Rec Center (52 Lundgren Boulevard, Gypsum)

Join Vail Health’s bilingual breast specialist Dr. Julie Barone for a free educational talk in Spanish on breast cancer prevention, signs, symptoms and how to schedule a mammogram.

Dinner will be provided starting at 5 p.m., followed by a presentation and discussion at 5:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided.

For more information or for any questions, call MIRA at 970-688-0001.

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