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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage & Family with Dr. Vivian Bucay

Dr. Vivian Bucay

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we sat down with our dermatology partner, Dr. Vivian Bucay to learn about her hispanic traditions and memories.

Vivian Bucay is a dermatologist in San Antonio, Texas with thirty years of practice both in the United States and Mexico City.  But in 2006, her medical attentiveness came into play when discovering cancer.  After finding a dry spot with white residue in her belly button, she sought immediate medical attention.

“I didn’t see a lesion of any kind, so I thought it was eczema or psoriasis, which can happen in that area. But it didn’t go away, and I didn’t know what it was, so a few weeks later I thought, I guess I’d better biopsy it. The possibility of cancer wasn’t on my radar. Ironic, I know, since I’m a dermatologist. But as a dermatologist, I did what I always do when there’s something strange. My case is proof that melanomas don’t have to be dark moles, and they can happen anywhere.”

After a number of years and treatments including surgery to have numerous lymph nodes removed and entering two clinical trials progressing her cancer to stage 4 melanoma, Dr. Vivian is now a strong survivor who is passionate about educating young women about skin protection.

For me, it was very motivating to have three young girls to take care of. If my daughters ever did get a sense of my being sick or if they were worried, my line to them was always, “Nope! I’m tough. And I will dance at your weddings.”

When Dr. Vivian is not seeing patients or giving lectures to the medical community about generational aging, she is enjoying time with her three daughters and her grandson.

We sat down with Dr. Vivian to talk about her Hispanic heritage and what she’s most proud of.


My favorite memory is spending the entire summer in Mexico City with my Sister, my grandparents and my Mom’s two sisters.  We would spend a lot of time together, stay up way too late and sneak to the kitchen to prepare papitas (potato chips) with spicy sauce.  I remember my Grandfather coming to yell at us (all in love). 

I also remember watching my Mom, Grandmother, Aunts get ready to go out – getting their makeup and hair done! I could not wait for the day to go to the Salon and get my hair done like they all did.

The other thing I enjoyed is time in the kitchen with my family.  Preparing meals with my extending family.  We also loved going to the large market with my Grandmother.  I learned how to pick a good papaya, a good pineapple or avocado.  I learned a lot of practical things that you don’t learn in school that were passed down.


There is a chocolate cake that my Grandmother made that involved a lot of eggs, chocolate and nuts – no flour.  That is one recipe that we all share.

I’ve also started my own recipes.  My homemade chicken noodle soup is pretty good. My Mother recently complimented my soup and said ‘I think this is better than the one I made’.  The highest compliment ever.


One thing that I learned from my Mom is to try things and be open.  You won’t regret the things that you do.  You will regret the things you didn’t do.  It’s important to live a fulfilling purposeful life.  You are responsible for your own happiness.

If you asked my kids, they would say that the one thing that their Mom says often is “If I spoke to my Mother the way you spoke to me, I would get a chancla (slipper) thrown at me”. Laughing. Respect for your elders is the important principle.


I’m proud because we value the family including the extended family and the nuclear family.  We find value in every generation. We learn from our elders, our contemporaries and our younger ones too.

There is a focus on community that can be lost as we immigrate.  I’m proud of having a strong identity.  In my house we were raised to sit down at the dinner table as a family.  We talked about our day and shared.  Even if it is only 30 minutes.  We still do that! My three girls and their families were here for 5 months during quarantine and we sat down every night.  It was chaos but it was a beautiful chaos.

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