SAN ANTONIO — Amanda Ramirez knows there’s one word in the Latino community that is taboo — cancer.
“Cancer is a bad word. I think the Latino community doesn’t like to get checked up very well. Sometimes we aren’t aware of where they can go to get checkups,” Ramirez said.
Amanda Ramirez is not a pro boxer, but she is a fighter and she proved that when she defeated leukemia in 2016. She credits the sweet science for keeping her healthy in life after her victory.
“If it weren’t for that, I don’t think I would be in shape and eat and take care of myself, and I think that’s one of the biggest things,” Ramirez said. “Not only the time while in cancer, but life after cancer is a big, big thing that we all need to be aware of.”
UT Health San Antonio researcher Dr. Amelie Ramirez is going to help tackle post-cancer life through a $9.8 million study.
“We want to intervene with cancer survivors and help them improve their quality of life after being diagnosed,” Dr. Ramirez said. “And being treated for cancer and then making sure they lead the healthiest life possible and reduce potential occurrences of cancer.”
Dr. Ramirez said the study is going to look at discrimination, depression, chronic stress, diet, biological markers, genetics and other things that impact Latino survivors.
“We’ll also be taking be taking biological measures, so the first year they’ll visit with us twice and after that we’ll be doing yearly follow ups to see how they are doing,” Dr. Ramirez said.
In order to make this happen, they are going to recruit 3,000 Latino breast, colorectal, kidney, lung, prostate, stomach and cervical cancer survivors in San Antonio and Miami.
Even though leukemia is not on that list, Amanda Ramirez is still excited that millions of dollars of resources are going to be used to save the lives of other Latino cancer survivors.
“I think it’s about time. I think Latinos have been over looked, in as far as getting the right type of health care, eating the right foods,” Amanda Ramirez said. “Getting introduced to how we can do better with what we have.”
For the 1,500 Latinos selected in San Antonio, getting the right healthcare can be done through this study, and for those with leukemia, they can get help through Amanda’s nonprofit, Mandy’s Fight.