Magnolia Contreras’ main focus in her job at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is to help people in Boston — particularly in communities of color in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan — understand that cancer is not a death sentence. And she is someone who knows: Since 2002, her life has been all cancer, all the time. That was the year Contreras became a breast cancer survivor.
“The fear of having cancer paralyzes people in our community. And they don’t want to hear about cancer, they don’t want to see cancer,” said Contreras, who was born in the Dominican Republic but moved with her family to Boston as a young child.