Through a program being developed by Farmworker Justice in partnership with two community organizations in California and Florida, as well as primary care and oncology care providers, and funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Maricella meets with farmworkers and their families to talk about the risks of skin cancer and the benefits of screening and treatment for the disease. The program, called Unidos Eliminando Barreras para la Prevención de Cáncer de la Piel (United Eliminating Barriers to Skin Cancer Prevention), establishes community prevention and care networks that use workplace outreach, migrant health clinics, and National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Centers to serve migrant farmworkers and their families at high risk for melanoma and other skin cancers in Florida and California.
Every year, upwards of 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S., more than the number of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer cases combined. Since more than 90 percent of skin cancer diagnoses are associated with exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, people who work outdoors – such as farmworkers – are at particularly high risk. Studies confirm that farmworkers are at additional risk because of their exposure to pesticides, which increase their likelihood of developing melanoma.