It's important for people to have health information in their native tongue, even if they're fluent in a secondary language.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) October 30, 2012
The page provides information on different types of sarcoma as well as resources that any Spanish-speaking cancer patient can use, says board member Suzie Siegel of Tampa.
"It's important for people to have health information in their native tongue, even if they're fluent in a secondary language," says Lucy Gonzalez-Barr, a bilingual health education specialist in Land O'Lakes, north of Tampa.
Spanish speakers fluent in English may still not catch some nuances or specific meanings, she says. Medical terms may be unfamiliar. In the fear and confusion that follows a cancer diagnosis, "they may feel more comfortable in their native tongue." This was the case when her Puerto Rican father was diagnosed with cancer, "even though he understood English and had lived in the continental U.S. for more than 40 years."
U.S. cancer centers should make interpreters available to people who don't understand English, Siegel says, adding: Patients shouldn't have to rely on bilingual relatives, especially children. They should ask what other services are provided in their language, including reading material, videos and support groups.
People in Spanish-speaking countries may find the new Sarcoma Alliance page useful if their own countries lack sufficient information, Siegel says.
"It's an excellent idea," says Gustavo Davila in Spanish. He started the Jovenes Contra el Cancer Fundacion in Quito, Ecuador, after losing his teen son, Alex, to osteosarcoma. Alex was treated in Tampa, where Siegel met the family.
The Sarcoma Alliance is a national nonprofit based in Mill Valley, Calif., that provides education, guidance and support. Sarcoma can occur anywhere in the body, in both men and women, at any age, from newborn on up.