Being told you have breast cancer is one conversation you hope never to have. However, the reality is that more than 17,000 Hispanic women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease this year, estimates the American Cancer Society (ACS). This is a 20 percent rise from 2011—and, what’s more, Latinas’ mortality rate is also higher than other groups’, a disparity that the ACS attributes to ��differences in care, treatment, and awareness. In other words: Now more than ever, this is a serious issue for all of us. But whether you’re navigating your own journey or know someone who is, you can learn from the lessons these survivors shared with Glam Belleza Latina. First up, Natasha Toro.


“I trusted my instincts.”
—Natasha Toro, 44, teacher

When New York City schoolteacher Natasha Toro was in her early twenties, she felt a lump in her left breast. The mammogram turned up clean, so she didn’t dwell on it. But she was diligent about her subsequent breast exams and continued to conduct them at home. And when, at age 34, she felt something during one of those self-exams, she asked to see a doctor immediately. That’s when her worst fear was realized: She had stage IIB cancer. “It was shocking because I was young, but I felt like I had always known,” says Natasha.

She initially sought answers on her condition online, only to be overwhelmed by the “scary” statistics she found. So instead she relied on the love and support of her large family, friends, and school community to power through four months of chemotherapy.

Listening to her gut again, Natasha took a big step to make herself feel whole: She had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery while still undergoing treatment. Now, nearly a decade after her diagnosis, Natasha takes her health very seriously. “I’m more assertive now at the doctor’s office,” she says. “I write down my questions beforehand to make sure I cover everything.”

Now, join the fight with products that benefit breast cancer awareness.


For overnight hydration:
Avon Anew Vitale Night Cream, $28, with $5 going to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade,


For clean skin
Comodynes Micellar Cleanser Towelettes, $7.50, with 30 percent of proceeds from sales to the BCRF,