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J Cancer Educ. 2011 Dec;26(4):724-33. doi: 10.1007/s13187-011-0249-4.

Quality of life among immigrant Latina breast cancer survivors: realities of culture and enhancing cancer care.

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1
Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Latinas. This study examined social, cultural, and health care system factors that impact the quality of life and survivorship experiences of Latina immigrant breast cancer survivors. We interviewed Latina breast cancer survivors (n = 19) and, based on the interview findings, conducted two focus groups (n = 9). Research staff translated transcripts from Spanish into English. Two trained raters reviewed the content and identified themes. Thematic content analysis was used to categorize and organize data. Participants were largely monolingual in Spanish, predominantly from Central and South America and most (68%) had lived in the U.S. for ten or more years. All women were diagnosed and treated in the U.S. and were an average of 3.1 years from diagnosis. Women's survivorship experiences appeared to be shaped by cultural beliefs and experiences as immigrants such as secrecy/shame about a breast cancer diagnosis, feelings of isolation, importance of family support (familism), challenges with developing social relationships in the U.S. (less personalismo), and, for some, their partner's difficulty with showing emotional support (machismo). Navigating the U.S. medical system and language barriers were additional challenges in the participants' health care interactions. Latina breast cancer survivors adhere to certain cultural values and face unique issues as immigrants, potentially influencing overall quality of life and doctor-patient communication. Efforts to improve Latina immigrant breast cancer survivors' quality of life could include increased assessment of psychosocial functioning and referral to social support services, culturally sensitive navigation programs, and consistent use of appropriately trained interpreters.

PMID:
21706194
PMCID:
PMC3286609
DOI:
10.1007/s13187-011-0249-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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