Study Working to Find Link in Lack of Motivation After Surviving Breast Cancer


POSTED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 4:04pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 8:30am

According to research, breast cancer is the number one killer of Latina women.

But Gloria Escamilla, a 12 year breast cancer survivor, beat the disease.

She has now volunteered for a study at the UT Health Science Center of San Antonio in Harlingen, that's trying to figure out why survivors, in many cases Mexican-American women, beat the odds and then more or less give up on the rest of their health.

“That's basically what we're trying to find out with our study. so we're seeking different motivational barriers," says Research Area Specialist Project Coordinator, Rose Trevino.

Why is it that breast cancer survivors lose motivation to exercise after putting up what was probably the fight of their lives?

Escamilla says for her, looking back, that's an easy question to answer.

"Before I was diagnosed, I exercised and then when I became a survivor I was like, "Hey, I exercised the whole time, it's not worth it, it didn't work". So for ten years I was a sedentary cancer survivor. I think I was just a little angry that I had done everything as I should have and I still was a statistic," says breast cancer survivor, and study participant, Gloria Escamilla.

Escamilla, who has been with the study for four weeks, says the benefits of participating are two-fold.

"Maybe they can teach me how to be a better survivor and I believe that I survived because of research. So why not help other women, other Hispanic women, or women in general, that are coming forth with the disease," says Escamilla.

On top of that, the mother of two has five other sisters, two of which have also been diagnosed with breast cancer, but lost their battles.

In a quick breakdown, the participant will come in, complete a baseline assessment test. That includes testing cardio levels, strength and flexibility, their body mass index, among other things, and then the staff will create a tailored exercise prescription.

"It's going to tell you how to exercise, so for sixteen weeks, everything is going to be home based for you," Research Specialist Associate, Gabriella Villanueva.

After the 16 weeks, the participant comes back and is retested to see if their fit levels and BMI have improved.

As of now the study needs fifty additional participants. Criteria are simple. You must be a Mexican-American women, who is a breast cancer survivor, over the age of18 who is two months post treatment.

One of the main ideas behind the study is to address the ever growing obesity problem that we face here in the Rio Grande Valley while trying to get survivors back in a workout routine after pulling through.

For more information on this study you can contact Gabriella Villanueva at 956-365-8699 or 956-365-8695.

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