The UNM Cancer Treatment and Research Center was recently awarded a $250,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to develop a culturally appropriate, one-on-one peer support intervention program for Hispanic women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and their families.

"The time immediately after a breast cancer diagnosis is the most stressful time for a woman," said Principal Investigator Elba Saavedra who was awarded the grant. Saavedra is a doctoral candidate and research scientist at the Epidemiology and Cancer Control Program at UNM's Cancer Research and Treatment Center. "Each woman's experience is unique, and individual peer support can be critical. Women who have already been through the experience can be so helpful. They can give one-on-one emotional support and practical information."

Through the grant, a group of Hispanic breast cancer survivors will be recruited and trained to serve as "comadres" (close female friends). Family members and/or friends of Hispanic breast cancer survivors will also be recruited and trained. Recruited participants will lead cancer support groups, and will provide guidance, information, one-on-one emotional support and referral services to Hispanic women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and their families.

"We know that a breast cancer diagnosis affects the entire family," Saavedra said. "That's why it is so important to provide support for the family as well. By drawing on the experience of Hispanic breast cancer survivors, this project hopes to provide guidance, support, and information about breast cancer and available resources. We believe the end result of this project will be improved outcomes for both the newly diagnosed Hispanic women and their families."
Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322