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Cult Med Psychiatry. 1997 Dec;21(4):449-80.

Impact of breast cancer on Asian American and Anglo American women.

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  • 1UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA. mkagawa@ucla.edu

Abstract

This pilot study constitutes the first exploration of the impact of breast cancer on Asian American women. Three hypotheses guided this study: (1) Asian American women would choose breast conserving therapy and breast reconstruction at a lower rate than the Anglo American women due to cultural differences in body image, (2) Asian American women with breast cancer would express psychological distress somatically and Anglo American women would express distress emotionally, and acculturation levels of the Asian American women would modify the expressions of distress such that women with high acculturation will express distress more emotionally and less acculturated women would express distress more somatically, and (3) Asian American women would seek assistance for psychosocial problems at a significantly lower rate than Anglo women. Ethnicity, age, and levels of acculturation were found to be significant variables that had to be considered simultaneously. The three hypotheses were only partially supported: (1) Asian American women chose breast conserving therapy and adjuvant therapy at a significantly lower rate than the Anglo American women, (2) Contrary to the hypothesis, somatization did not appear to be a dominant form of symptom presentation for Asian American women regardless of level of acculturation, and (3) Asian American women sought professional assistance for psychosocial problems at a significantly lower rate than Anglo women. Asian American women reported using different modes of help-seeking behavior for emotional concerns and receiving different sources of social support than the Anglo American women. Cultural interpretations of the findings are offered to explain the differences in the physical, emotional, and social responses to the breast cancer experience of Asian American women compared with the Anglo Americans, and notably between the Chinese- and Japanese Americans as well. The findings of this study warrant more refined exploration in order to improve the medical, psychological and social outcomes for Asian American women with breast cancer.

PMID:
9492974
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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