Hispanic Heritage Month Featuring: Maria Lopez

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is honoring Hispanic Survivor: Maria Lopez!


Maria Lopez was born in Chiapas, Mexico. Married with 3 children, she has been living in Millsboro, DE for the past 14 years. She was always up to date with her annual mammogram, but for 2 years she felt a lump that was never detected. After insisting to her doctor that she felt a lump on her left breast and asking for additional screenings, Maria was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer in 2014 . It was stage 4.

At the beginning of her breast cancer journey, Maria had lot of side effects. She felt so much pain and weakness. She went through 17 sessions of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Nowadays, Maria continues to visit her doctor every 6 months. She is a homemaker and lives with her husband and daughter Priscilla (pictured above).

During Hispanic Heritage Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Maria encourages other Hispanic women to screen early, have faith in God, and keep fighting for those surviving the disease. She wants women to find out about their family history for breast cancer by filling out the DBCC’s Family Health History Tree. Maria’s aunt had stomach cancer so she knows some cancer runs in her family.

Maria also offers encouragement to other women who are beginning their breast cancer journey. She says, “You are going to fight this, and you will come out victorious!” She also thanks God and her oncology doctor for her recovery and surviving breast cancer. In her own words she said, “Christ gives me strength.”



Maria Lopez nació en Chiapas, México. Casada y con tres hijos, Maria ha vivido en Millsboro, DE por los últimos 14 años. Como siempre, ella estaba al tanto con su mamografía anual pero por dos años sentía una bolita que nunca fue detectada durante su revisión. Maria fue diagnosticada con un tipo de cáncer de seno muy agresivo en el 2014 después de insistirle a su doctor en someterse a pruebas adicionales ya que sentía un bulto en su seno izquierdo.

Durante el inicio de su tratamiento, Maria lo describe como doloroso, con muchos síntomas y con una debilidad muy fuerte. Se sometió a 17 sesiones de quimioterapia y radioterapia cuando el cáncer fue detectado en etapa 4. Actualmente, Maria continua visitando a su doctor cada 6 meses, es ama de casa y vive con su esposo y su hija Priscila (en la foto).

Durante el mes de la Herencia Hispana y el mes de la Sensibilización del Cáncer de Seno, Maria invita a otras mujeres Hispanas que se sometan a pruebas de cáncer a tiempo, tengan fe en Dios y que sigan luchando las personas que han sido diagnosticadas con esta enfermedad. La tía de Maria padeció de cáncer en el estómago y quiere que otras mujeres también usen el Árbol Genealógico de la Salud para así aprender sobre las enfermedades que corren en la familia.

Así mismo, Maria también ofrece apoyo a esas mujeres pasando por la misma situación. Les dice “¡Van a vencer la enfermedad, van a salir victoriosas!”. También agradece a Dios y su oncólogo por su mejoramiento y recuperación en sobrevivir esta enfermedad, en sus propias palabras ella dice “Cristo me fortalece”.

New Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van Unveiled

The new Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) Van was unveiled on Tuesday, June 21 at Legislative Hall in Dover. The program included tours of the medical unit, remarks from program facilitators and elected officials, and a toast to the success of the program. Guests included Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf, Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, staff from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS) program, DPH staff, and members of the Delaware General Assembly, including Senator Patricia Blevins, Senator Hall-Long, and former Senator Liane Sorenson.


The van is a collaborative effort between the State of Delaware and Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS), a subsidiary of DBCC. The van is owned by DPH and the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition holds the operating contract. In March, the WMHS program received a new, state-of-the-art van that combines digital imaging equipment and health professionals from Beebe Medical Center.  The Delaware General Assembly allocated funding for the van in June 2015.


“When we catch cancers early, we protect Delawareans from early death, disfigurements, complex health problems – and devastated families,” said Governor Jack Markell.  “The work the coalition has done over 25 years has saved lives and preserved families.”


“Screening is saving lives in Delaware,” Secretary Landgraf said.  “Because of organizations like the Delaware Breast Cancer and Screening for Life within the Department of Health and Social Services, it is highly likely that improving the early detection of breast cancer contributed to Delaware’s progress in breast cancer mortality.”


Delaware’s all-site cancer mortality rate has dropped, from second-highest in the country in the early 1990s to 14th for the period of 2007-2011.  Delaware’s breast cancer mortality rate currently ranks 17th-highest in the country.


Starting in July, in addition to mammography screenings, the van will offer cervical cancer screenings and blood pressure screenings, as well healthy lifestyle education.  A prescription from a medical professional is no longer necessary to be screened.


“We will also talk to women on the van about risk factors for cancer (and other chronic diseases),” Dr. Rattay said.  “Women will receive glucose screening (for diabetes), tobacco cessation referrals, Body Mass Index screening, and physical activity and nutrition education.”


“I am pleased to finally see the new and improved women’s mobile health screening van on the road and bringing lifesaving mammography screenings to some of our most vulnerable populations,” says Senator Patricia Blevins. “The van serves nearly 800 women a year who might not otherwise have access to mammography screenings and with the new addition of a room for examinations, it will bring even more value to the women in Delaware who need it most.”


Through the WMHS program, more than 8,500 women were screened since July of 2004. Of those, more than 4,200 were through the Screening for Life (SFL) program.  Over the past 15 years, SFL provided 25,000 uninsured or under-insured women in Delaware with more than 48,000 breast cancer screenings.


Women who qualify for the SFL program may receive free mammography services as well as cervical, screenings. WMHS also accepts Medicaid, Medicare, most health insurance, and self-pay clients. Patients should check with insurance providers to find out if they are covered. WMHS staff helps women apply for SFL or find another program that can help cover the cost of screening. Patients also can arrange for transportation or an interpreter through WMHS.


“By having a background in both healthcare and nursing and co-chairing the Delaware Cancer Consortium, I have seen firsthand the effects that cancer can have on all of those who are touched by this disease,” says Senator Bethany Hall-Long. “Early detection can be lifesaving when it comes to screenings for breast cancer which is why having access to the mobile mammography van can help reduce mortality and morbidity in our population.”


The van primarily targets those who are uninsured and/or low income; however, all women can be screened on the van. The van regularly visits community centers, senior centers, health care facilities, and employers throughout the state. Most women screened on the van are age 40 or older. For more information on the Women’s Mobile Health Screening Van, call 888-672-9647.


Event Photos by CM Baker. Captions below (from left to right).





Top Left: Group shot in front of the van

Top Right: Katelynn Mayers, Governor Jack Markell, Bethany Hall-Long

Bottom Left: Vicky Cooke and Liard Stabler

Bottom Right: Rebecca Elzey, Donna Stinson, Vicky Cooke, Christina Richter, Ciro Poppiti, Patti Key, and Linda Powell



Do More 24 … with DBCC and United Way!

Do you want to create positive change throughout the state of Delaware? If yes, join us for Do More 24!



Do More 24 is Delaware’s first community day of giving campaign. This online fundraiser will begin at 12:01 AM and end at 11:59 PM on June 2nd. The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is participating in the Do More 24 Delaware campaign, which is powered by United Way of Delaware. The innovative fundraiser will bring together more than 250 nonprofits that serve the entire state. We hope you will join us for Do More 24 Delaware by supporting our organization. Here are some ways you can help:
  1. Donate. On June 2nd, go to https://domore24delaware.com/npos/delaware-breast-cancer-coalition
  2. Spread the word. Ask your friends and family to join you in creating positive change on June 2nd.
  3. Share our stories. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and help us spread the word about donating to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition on June 2 for Do More 24!
If you are thinking to yourself.. there are so many worthwhile nonprofits in Delaware to help on June 2 …why should I give to DBCC? We thought you might ask that! Instead of us telling you about all the great local programs and services we provide to the community, it might be helpful to hear from our friend and breast cancer survivor, Lori Holveck, pictured below with her daughter and son.

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Advocacy in Action #NBCCsummit

Several staff members from the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition recently attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. It was a wonderful summit where staff members were updated on the latest efforts to achieve Deadline 2020: to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020 and advocate to leverage government to help us achieve our goals.  NBCC President, Fran Visco, shared so many stories with us of the triumph and tribulations the organization has faced over the last 25 years. We were inspired to live up to our goals so we can stop losing the ones we love to this horrible disease. #NBCCSummit


There were updates from panels of experts in science, research, women’s health, and more on the Artemis Project – the search for a preventative breast cancer vaccine, prevention, metastasis, the political climate of breast cancer, and advocacy training.  All of this learning prepared us to march to Capitol Hill to meet with our legislators and effect change in our communities. #NBCConthehill

Our voices were heard as we met with staff members from all our legislative offices. In Congressman Carney’s office we met with staff aid, Gita Miller, who assured us of Congressman Carney’s continued support for the fight against breast cancer. He has already signed on as a Co-Sponsor for H.R. 1197 the bill which will help us Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer.  We urged the Congressman to help put pressure on the leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives to bring the bill to a suspension vote. We hope we can count on Congressman Carney to reach out to Representative Hoyer and Representative McCarthy to bring the bill to a suspension vote, where it will undoubtedly pass! Our Congressman will continue to make cancer a priority in his office.




Quick detour as we stopped at the Supreme Court for a photo-op. #wheninDC

Next, we proceeded to the Senate side where we met with Senator Coons’ aid Kelsey Mellette to discuss the Senators unrelenting support for the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Not only is Senator Coons a cosponsor for S. 746 Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, but he has signed onto the FY17 letter to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in support of funding for the DOD peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP). This program has been so successful in producing innovative and unique, effective research which is both accountable to the public and transparent, and has produced extraordinary results. It has led to revolutionary work including the breast cancer drug, Herceptin. We are grateful to have Senator Coons support in Washington!


Lastly, we met with Senator Carper’s aid Lynn Sha to discuss Carper’s support. Senator Carper has signed on as a cosponsor for S. 746 Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act and we hope we can count on his support of the DOD BCRP in the future.


The conference was intense but we found some time for fun. Meeting the faculty for a quick chat about his ongoing research and a photo.


And when it came time for the Breast Cancer Caucus “Convention”, we showed our Delaware pride BIG time! Check out our team pictured with Abe from the Washington Nationals and our University of Delaware Pride!

Overall, we learned a lot and had a great time. We will continue to fight to achieve the deadline and stop ending deaths due to breast cancer. If you would like to learn more about the National Breast Cancer Coalition and becoming an advocate, please contact Beth at bkrallis@debreastcancer.org.

Breast Cancer Update Was Great Success

Just about 300 people attended this year’s 19th Annual Breast Cancer Update held at Dover Downs Hotel and Rollins Conference Center on April 13. This year’s theme, Personalized Medicine: Not Your Grandmother’s Breast Cancer, focused on new methods of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and more personalized options.

The morning sessions included informative talks about advances in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer from Kevin Fox, M.D., Director, Rena Rowan Breast Cancer and Mariann T. and Robert J. MacDonald Professor in Breast Cancer Care Excellence, University of Pennsylvania, a look at what kind of research is being done here in Delaware by Jennifer Sims-Mourtada, Ph.D., Senior Clinical Scientist, Helen F Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care Health System, and a look at complementary medicine including naturopathic practices by Marie Winters, ND, FABNO, Manager of Naturopathic Medicine, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and spirituality by Drew Angus, DMin, Director of Spiritual Outreach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

New this year was a look at breast reconstruction and nipple recreation. Erik Hoy, M.D., Plastic Surgeon, Premier Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery and Mandy Sauler, CPCP, Micropigmentation Specialist, Owner, CosMed Tattoo, LLC, both spoke about reconstruction after surgery and nipple recreation via tattooing. If you liked Mandy’s talk, you might enjoy this short video from Penn Medicine as well.IMG_9535

The day ended with a survivor panel with three local survivors sharing their stories, Barbie Andrews, Cheris Reed, and Holly Thatcher. This is always one of the most touching parts of the day and a favorite of many attendees!

Our expert panel of moderators included Owen Thomas, M.D., Radiation Oncology, Delmarva Radiation Services, Tunnell Cancer Center; Sara Gavenonis, M.D., Diagnostic Radiologist, Christiana Care Health System; Clara Higgins, D.O., FACOS, Trauma Medical Director, Beebe Healthcare; and Wendy Newell, M.D. FACS, General Surgeon, Wolf Creek Surgeons.

DBCC would like to thank the planning committee, chaired by board members Nanci Mayer-Mihalski and Wilma Yu, along with board members Tynetta Brown, Sue Bowlby, Patti Key, Beth Selsor, Linda Powell, Mary McLaughlin, Rena Howard, Donna Stinson, Ciro Poppiti, Amy Norgate, Dr. Clara Higgins, Dr. Wendy Newell  and all the sponsors, staff, volunteers, vendors, and all those who attended!

See you next year for the 20th Annual Breast Cancer Update – Wednesday, April 26, 2017!



Breast Health Outreach & Education in Your Neighborhood


The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Delaware’s MOST trusted breast cancer resource has a few upcoming outreach and education programs coming to your neighborhood. Please mark your calendars to join us …..



VIDA Living a Healthy Lifestyle Bilingual Health and Screening Fair

Saturday, April 2, 2016

11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Multicultural Church and Community Center, 105 NE Front Street, Milford, DE 19963

Join us for a day of breast health education, free screenings, and information on how to live a healthy lifestyle on Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 11:30am to 2:30pm at the Multi-Cultural Church & Community Center in Milford. The day will include: Clinical Breast Exams provided on site, Mammogram appointments available on the van (call 1-888-672-9647 to register), Health screening and insurance information from many vendors, and Glucose, Cholesterol, BMI, DEXA screenings provided by the Bayhealth Education Department. Food and snacks will be provided plus Families are welcome and Free Clothing Giveaways will be offered. Hope you can join us!

For more information visit our webpage, here.


Total Woman’s Conference: Empowering the Wise and Well Woman

Saturday, April 9, 2016

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Milford Library, 11 SE Front Street, Milford, DE

Join the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and Women of Wellness, LLC for the Total Woman’s Conference: Empowering the Wise and Well Woman on Saturday, April 9 from 10am to 1pm at the Milford Library. You can expect informative workshops, free screenings, and lunch. Admission is free but  registration is required. Visit tinyurl.com/wiseandwell to register.

For more information visit our webpage, here.


VIDA Living a Healthy Lifestyle Bilingual Health and Screening Fair

Saturday, April 23, 2016

8:30 am to 1:30 pm

Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, 310 Virginia Avenue, Seaford, DE 19973

Join us for a day of breast health education, free screenings, and information on how to live a healthy lifestyle on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 8:30am to 1:30pm at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club in Seaford. The day will include: Clinical Breast Exams provided on site, Health screening and insurance information from many vendors, and Glucose, Cholesterol, BMI, DEXA screenings provided by the Beebe Community Health. Food and snacks will be provided plus Families are welcome and Free Clothing Giveaways will be offered. Hope you can join us!

For more information visit our webpage, here.

Forgiveness and Health

Provided by Drew Angus, DMin
Director of Spiritual Outreach, Cancer Treatment Centers of America


Maryanne’s aging parents are still independent but they need more support than ever. Her Dad has a complicated health history including diabetes and a recent recurrence of cancer. Maryanne has three siblings who all live within an hour drive to their parents, however, Maryanne is the child who seems to always take her parents to the doctor and is in daily contact with them. Maryanne’s husband maintains her parent’s lawn and frequently does their home maintenance. Maryanne cooks three meals a week for her folks and stops by to check on them almost every day, all while managing her own household and working full time. In addition, Maryanne has recently gained added responsibilities with her daughter’s upcoming high school graduation. Recently, she asked her siblings if they could take over some of the duties of supporting their parents during the coming month. None of her siblings stepped up to the plate and each had excuses that did not seem valid. Once again, Maryanne was stretched thin with responsibilities and work that left her exhausted and angry. “I am disgusted with my siblings. Why do they have to be so selfish? I just need them to pull their weight and help Mom and Dad especially when I have so much on my plate already!”

During the course of any given day many of us get angry at least once. Something or more likely someone becomes a source of anger or frustration. There are a number of reasons why we get angry with people, but let me suggest a few of the m­ost common:

  • Injustice. We all have a sense of right and wrong and of what constitutes fair treatment. We know when wrong has been committed against us or someone we love, when people don’t do what they say they are going to do, when they don’t pull their weight, etc.
  • Hurt. The heart gets wounded. Most of us know what it feels like to be left out; overlooked, undervalued, put-down.
  • Fear. When there is a perceived threat to something that gives us a sense of identity or security.
  • Frustration. Everyone has a God-given need for significance and to leave a positive mark on the world. We want to see our work make a difference. Sometimes, roadblocks to moving toward our goals are people.

Sometimes we have a hard time letting things go.  We have the capacity to stew on offenses and sometimes develop deep pockets of resentment or lack of forgiveness that research shows actually hurts our health over time.

According to Seawell et al. in Pyschology and Health, “As a negative response to interpersonal offense that commonly involves grudge, resentment and revenge, lack of forgiveness has been consistently related to poorer health in published research.”

We know that those who do not forgive show an increase in sympathetic nervous system responses and release more stress hormones over a longer period that will in time affect their health and well-being. In other words, if I don’t forgive someone who has hurt me, the one who will suffer the most is me. So it is important for our friend Maryanne’s own health and well-being to be able to find forgiveness toward her siblings who have let her down.

So if it is so beneficial to forgive, why might Maryanne resist something that is good for her? Harboring an offense can actually feel good! History shows that one of the shadow sides of human nature is self-righteousness. If we are really honest sometimes we really enjoy feeling BETTER than someone else. If Maryanne forgives her siblings, she may sacrifice her sense of being `right’. When we hold onto a grudge it feels like we are in control although, in the long run, we end up being the ones controlled by the very offense that has hurt us to begin with. Another reason Maryanne might resist forgiving her siblings is the false notion that it means that she is letting them off the hook. It is difficult to accept that forgiveness does not perpetuate the hurt and injustices being done.

“Importantly, forgiveness is not condoning, excusing, denying, minimizing, or forgetting the wrong. It can occur without reconciliation, which requires the participation of both parties, if the person who caused the hurt is absent, deceased, or remains unsafe.” (Toussaint et al. Forgive to Live)

“Lack of forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” –Nelson Mandela

“Forgiveness can be defined as a freely made choice to give up revenge, resentment, or harsh judgements toward a person who caused a hurt, and to strive to respond with generosity, compassion, and kindness toward that person. It is a process that involves reducing negative responses and increasing positive responses toward the person who cause the hurt, across the realms of affect, cognition and behavior.” Loren Toussaint et al. (Toussaint et al. Forgive to Live)

Family therapist, Ruthanne Batstone, describes forgiveness as, “a willingness to absorb or pay the emotional debt for the offense and not seek revenge or payment in return. The offended person absorbs the price of emotional pain without seeking revenge.”

So if Maryanne forgives her siblings it is not a denial of the pain of their offense to her, rather it is an acknowledgement of the offense and a willingness to absorb the debt without repayment.

How do we find the power to forgive? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This beautiful quote is familiar to many and is taken from Jesus prayer from the Sermon on the Mount. One way to forgive is to remember our own humanity and frailty which will help us develop compassion towards others, even those who have hurt us. All of us who are loved well are also known well and that means we are not loved because we are perfect, but rather loved `warts and all’. If we meditate long enough on being loved by God with others even with our imperfections, it will create the space in our hearts to do likewise and to ‘forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, we see many people who live with cancer and their caregivers who, like Maryanne, carry immense responsibilities. Our desire is to minimize their stress and optimize their health and well-being by offering forgiveness education ­­­as one of many modalities to integrated health and healing.

Scriptural wisdom gives two possible responses to an offense by another. Sometimes you go to the person and talk about the offense, especially if it is needed to keep the relationship free of resentment and for the sake of loving the offender well. Sometimes you overlook the offense if you are able to absorb the debt without resentment and it is a more minor offense. Part of living in any relationship, any community is “patience, bearing with each other in love” (Eph 4:2). So we often need wisdom and discernment to know whether we let an offense go or talk to the person about it. When trying to decide, the guiding principle is LOVE.