PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Right now, more than three million women in the United States are living with, or have beaten breast cancer, and chances are you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease.
While death rates have been dropping in recent years, thanks to better treatments and awareness, early detection is key. During the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) Convention in Phoenix, they are offering free mammograms inside the Phoenix Convention Center, saying more Latinas need to get tested.
Susana Cigarroa, who is still in her 30's, was there to get her mammogram, after two of her friends were diagnosed.
"I was very shocked," said Cigarroa. "She really wanted to keep it to herself, but we had another friend who had gone through breast cancer."
What really shocked Cigarroa was her friend's young age.
"My friend actually caught it when she was in her 30a," said Cigarroa.
So, Cigarroa asked questions.
"I was informed I don't have to wait until 45," said Cigarroa. "She just mentioned to me, 35 and older you can do it."
Studies show Hispanic women actually have lower rates of breast cancer than black or white women, but it's still the leading cause of cancer deaths for them. Assured Imaging is hoping to break down those barriers that keep them from getting tested.
"Sometimes there's a language barrier, so we try to make that a little better having people that speak Spanish on the bus," said Sara McDonald with assured Imaging.
"It's very important to get a mammogram for your family, your own health. Early detection is key," said Dofia Morales-Herod with Assured Imaging, in Spanish.
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Latinas tend to be diagnosed with more advanced stages of breast cancer than white women, because they don't get screened as often.
"The Latino community isn't aware of how important it is," said Cigarroa. "They think its probably other cultures, but it does affect the Latino community as much as any other culture."
The free mammograms are available until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at teh Phoenix Convention Center.
Breast Cancer information from the American Cancer Society
Breast Cancer information from the Mayo Clinic