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Qual Health Res. 2012 Feb;22(2):189-98. doi: 10.1177/1049732311420577. Epub 2011 Aug 29.

Passing through: meanings of survivorship and support among Filipinas with breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, and Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158-9001, USA.


Breast cancer among Filipinas in the United States is a major but largely neglected cancer disparity. In 2004, a community- university partnership resulted in the first Filipina breast cancer support group in the San Francisco Bay Area. Building on this partnership, we explored the social and cultural contexts of Filipinas' experiences with breast cancer to inform development of culturally appropriate and sustainable support services and outreach. We utilized multiple qualitative methods (participant observation, individual and small group in-depth qualitative interviews) to identify meanings of survivorship and support. Interviews and observations revealed the influences of social context and immigration experiences on women's understandings of cancer, what "surviving" cancer means, and what it means to take care of someone with breast cancer (or be taken care of). Our findings highlight the importance of a transnational perspective for the study of immigrant women's experiences of cancer and survivorship.

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