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Health Disparities Story


One woman tells the story of how the breast and cervical cancer education staff from Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota (VSS) made a difference in her life.  This is one of many programs working to combat health disparities in Minnesota.

Cancer Screening Saved my Life

I want to tell other people to get their cancer screening regularly because it can save their lives.

–Huong Doan, Vietnamese Breast Cancer Survivor

I cannot imagine where I would be if I did not meet the breast and cervical cancer education project staff from Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota (VSS). They showed me how important cancer screening is and encouraged me to have a mammogram. While breast cancer was happening in my body, I did not feel sick, and besides I had a busy life with family and work. Getting a breast and cervical cancer screening often slipped out of my priorities. After many reminder calls, the program staff set up a screening appointment with an interpreter and transportation provided. I reluctantly went in for the screening.

On the day of my appointment the staff was with me at the clinic, which made the experience much less scary. The mammogram showed lumps in my breasts. Biopsy confirmed the lumps were cancerous. I was told that my breast cancer was large but it has not spread to other areas in my body and I was lucky to have it found early. My cancer treatment at HCMC included a radical bilateral mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. During my treatment, the program staff had provided me with much needed supports such as rides to doctor’s appointments and much encouragement. There were bad days and they were always close by and ready to help. Their dedication and caring had provided the emotional support that I so need to complete the difficult treatment. Many thanks to the people at the VSS breast and cervical cancer education program. I am leading an active and productive life.