The sole Latina on the Philadelphia City Council, Maria Quiones Sánchez, has stated that she is battling breast cancer.
Quiones Sánchez, a Democrat from the 7th District, revealed that she was diagnosed with the condition this summer in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I am fighting breast cancer on my own,” Quiones Sánchez stated, “a war that began last summer when I had my first mammogram in seven years.”
Despite having a lump in her left breast, the councilwoman stated she had put off cancer scans due to “work and life,” and later because “COVID-19 provided me yet another excuse not to go to the doctor.”
Quiones Sánchez claimed she had a mastectomy in August of this year in the hopes of avoiding chemotherapy and radiation, but physicians advised her she required the treatments to prevent future sickness despite the removal of her left breast.
“I joined a meeting with my staff three days after my breast was removed, never missing a beat in my duties as a City Councilmember,” she stated.
Despite being cancer-free, Quiones Sánchez is undergoing chemotherapy at Penn Medicine and intends to begin preventative radiotherapy in the coming weeks.
Initially, the councilwoman planned to keep her diagnosis a secret until she finished her treatment in December, but she was moved to speak out after thinking about women she knew who had died of breast cancer, as well as seeing women share their own breast cancer stories during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Quiones Sánchez expressed particular worry for Black women and Latinas. Breast cancer is the most frequent kind of cancer identified among Latinas in the United States, with black women over 40% more likely than white women to die from it.
“Get a mammogram on a regular basis. “I’ve learned from my own experience that regular screening is critical for recognizing and treating this condition,” Quiones Sánchez stated.
Doctors have warned her that “this entire event may be in the rearview mirror” by February of next year, according to the councilwoman.