“Breast cancer is the No. 1 cause of death amongst Mexican women, even though it has a 95% curability rate if detected at an early stage.” (Mexican press headlines on Oct. 18, 2021)
“Cervical cancer is the second highest cause of death amongst women of the country despite being almost 100% curable if detected at an early stage. “ (Encuesta Nacional de Salud 2017)
What stands out from these two headlines is the fact that early detection is the key solution to the problem. In 2013, two residents of the largely rural municipality of Tepoztlan in the state of Morelos, both survivors of breast cancer themselves, set up Tepoz Rosa A.C. with the mission “to reduce the high mortality rate of breast cancer amongst the women of Tepoztlan” via early detection campaigns, general information and support for those patients undergoing treatment. In 2015, the organization was legally constituted and received tax deductibility status.
Since then, Tepoz Rosa has carried out regular annual early detection campaigns, providing free screenings for over 6,500 women in the municipality. Our database has over 3,000 local women registered enabling us to provide regular follow-ups. To date, 30 patients diagnosed with breast cancer have received financial, therapeutic, and logistical support with their treatments.
An outreach programme focuses on reaching the remotest communities of the Municipality, providing basic information to overcome taboos and misconceptions as well as logistical support to attend the screening campaigns. A team of volunteers –all local women- work throughout the year to promote the organization’s services, visit patients, offer and participate in well-being courses, workshops, etc.
In March 2022 Tepoz Rosa was able to open its own center, “La Casa Tepoz Rosa”, designed to receive mobile screening units, offer space for therapeutic and informative workshops, and provide the community with a supportive environment for patients and their families.
Our funding: Tepoz Rosa’s operations are funded exclusively on the basis of private donations: from individuals, organizations, and corporate sponsors. Tepoz Rosa also raises monies via annual fundraising campaigns that include the design and sale of a yearly iconic Recipe/Calendar, local social events, sports competitions, etc.
Our new venture: Building on the success in establishing early detection screening programmes as the best way forward, in 2019 and 2021 Tepoz Rosa set up a pilot programme of cervical cancer screenings. In partnership with the prestigious Fundación Luis Pasteur, in two, 3-day campaigns, over 720 local women signed up for the most complete testing package available, received information and appropriate treatment, where necessary.
Now Tepoz Rosa’s goal is to make the cervical cancer screening programmes a permanent service, available and accessible to all the women in Tepoztlan. In this venture we are honoured to receive the support of Amistad Canada.