Immigrant Link to Cancer Revealed

Posted on December 22, 2015 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

(L-R) Rossanna Wells (MIT Cycle 1 and Jamaica Hospital QMI/Patient Navigator), Brett Stark (Legal Director and co-founder of Terra Firma at Catholic Charities New York), Eleanor Wu (PROMISE Cycle 14 and full-time freelance Mandarin Medical Interpreter), Sylvia Dabalsa (Language Program Coordinator at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary), and Jorge Padrón (PROMISE Cycle 13, full-time freelance Spanish Interpreter and small business owner).


This is the last straw.  We already knew that newcomers to our country are sometimes the victims of exploitation and living in poverty.  Now leading research reveals there is a potential link between our immigrant population and cancer. 

Confronted by language, culture and financial barriers, immigrants suffer from higher rates of cancer, lower rates of treatment and unacceptable rates of cancer-caused deaths.

So Catholic Charities is teaming with the leading cancer research hospital in the world, Memorial Sloan Kettering, to fight back. 

Brett Stark, co-founder of Terra Firma at Catholic Charities recently served on a panel for the hospital’s Immigrant Health and Language Disparities Service Languages Initiatives Program to discuss the importance of language interpreters for health care. Clearly this is a key issue for immigrants. 

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s program offers free training to help patients and doctors to speak the same language, a key first step towards effective treatment.

“Interpreters,” says Mr. Stark, “play a critical role.”

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