This weekend, many Latinos will gather to celebrate the men who hold a valuable place in their families. It may be a good opportunity to encourage them to visit their doctor.
Among all ethnic groups, Hispanic men are the least likely to seek health care, often waiting for an emergency. But with many of the health problems Latin American men are likely to face, early intervention can make a difference in long-term outcomes.
“In my practice, we see a lot of strokes, heart disease, especially affecting men in the Latin American population,” said Dr. Javier Guevara, Jr., a family physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “In my previous job as a clinician in western Chicago with a predominantly Spanish-speaking population, the men were mostly diabetics with complications, kidney disease, blindness, heart attacks, strokes.
Frank Medina, a medical student and member of Latinos United for Cancer Education Research and Outreach (LUCERO), said that among Latin American men, the probability of developing lifelong cancer is about one in three. But Hispanic men are more likely to suffer from certain cancers, “especially liver cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer … looking at liver cancer, while the rates are similar among Hispanic men in the Compared to their white counterparts, in the United States, Latin American men are more likely to die from liver cancer. “
Environmental inequalities in predominantly Latin American neighborhoods could increase the risk of health problems in those communities as well, Medina said.
“If you look at maps of air pollution in our communities in Chicago … and then look at maps of the distribution where Latinos live, those two maps overlap. So you see higher levels of asthma in these communities, higher levels of COPD, problems that affect your lungs. “
As part of its mission to bring education and resources for cancer to communities, LUCERO is hosting a free fair for men’s health and family resources, Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Family Health Center in Chicago, 9119 S. Exchange Ave.
As for why Latin American men may not seek care when they need it, Lisa Sanchez-Johnson of Rush University Medical Center says that in addition to lack of insurance coverage, health organizations often lack cultural competence.
“One of the things that is discussed in the literature is that language is just a barrier, sometimes there may be a fear of speaking a certain language and sometimes some biases that people may have if you speak another language that can be considered. not as a source of power, which it really is, “Sanchez-Johnson said. “Another reason may be the lack of sufficient suppliers of their ethnic and racial background… sometimes there may be fears of immigration status.”
Sanchez-Johnson also warns that, as in all matters, Latinos are not a monolith.
“We see differences in the subpopulation with many different health problems. “I study mostly obesity and … we find that Puerto Rican men in particular have much higher levels of obesity than, for example, South American men,” she said. “There are also differences in the percentage of smoking in general. You see, sometimes people may say that Latinos don’t smoke much. But if you look at these population differences in my study … Puerto Rican men [have] higher levels of smoking than others. “
Guevara said the lack of trust in health care providers in Latin American communities necessitates a community-based approach to improving outcomes.
“Usually, Latin American men will trust either barbers or their neighbors and friends more than their doctors,” Guevara said. “I think what doctors can do is connect with these community centers, reach places of worship where people find more trust, and try to organize events where screenings can be held.
Sanchez-Johnson offered some resources for those who want to learn more about health issues affecting the Latino community:
• Research program for all of us at RUSH / Rush University Medical Center:
The All of Us research program is a historic effort to collect data from 1 million or more people in the United States to accelerate research, improve health, and promote equity in health care.
• Rush-Esperanza Family Medicine Internship Program
• Multicultural Health, Obesity and Cancer Research Program:
• Puerto Rico Program – Puerto Rico Health Summit, September 28-30, 2022
• Latino Health Symposium (MOLA): October 7-8, 2022
• Dynamic Latinx Health Care: Integrative wellness through the prism of culture and community
Part of the conference of the National Latin American Psychological Association (NLPA)., October 20-22, 2022