Cancer survivor preaches preventative health care
PASCO, Wash -- A Pasco woman is preaching preventative health care to anyone who will listen. Doctors diagnosed Brisa Guajardo with cancer not once, but twice. She credits regular doctor visits with saving her life.
Guajardo now bridges the gap for members of the Hispanic community seeking health care. She says often financial or cultural reasons will stop non-English speaking families from seeing doctors. She remembers hearing it from her own mom.
"Ya, she used to tell us if you're not bleeding to death and you're breathing, you're fine, you don't need a doctor. Tough it up!"
So when she had a cold at 24 years old it took her awhile to get to a doctor. When she finally went, they told her it wasn't a cold, but thyroid cancer.
"For me I just went through a routine check up and the next thing you know I walk out of the doctor's office just speechless because now you're told you have cancer."
She beat the cancer, and now works for Community Health Plan of Washington, primarily at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinics and Tri-Cities Community Health clinics, helping Latinos navigate the system and teaching preventative care as often as possible.
"I want people to be proactive in their own health care. I want them to know that there's things you can do to stay healthy and live a longer life."
She says people who think they can't get health insurance often can and there are people like her to help. She says even undocumented workers can get their kids regular preventative health care.
Brisa now tells patients her story, and how she now sees a doctor each year and they found cancer a second time. She credits her yearly visits with saving her life, and she wants others to take the same preventative measures.