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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2016 Sep 1;43(5):625-35. doi: 10.1188/16.ONF.625-635.

Cancer Journey for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Pacific Northwest
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Author information

1
University of New Mexico.
2
University of Washington in Seattle.
3
University of Arizona.
4
University of Washington.
5
Stanford University.

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To describe the experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native cancer survivors to improve understanding of the trajectory of cancer treatment. 
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RESEARCH APPROACH:

Qualitative focus group research.
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SETTING:

Rural and geographically isolated American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the Pacific Northwest.
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PARTICIPANTS:

30 American Indian and Alaska Native cancer survivors or caregivers. 
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METHODOLOGIC APPROACH:

The authors analyzed data from two focus groups with cancer survivors by using thematic analysis informed by indigenous methodologies.
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FINDINGS:

Based on focus group findings, the authors developed a conceptual model of the cancer experience called Rough Waters. Participants described their cancer experience as a collective journey involving family and friends and requiring resources to offset challenges along the way. Dominant themes were delays, isolation, communication, money, advocacy, spirituality, and family involvement.
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CONCLUSIONS:

American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Pacific Northwest have special cultural needs during cancer care. The current study provides examples that can guide patient-provider interactions.
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INTERPRETATION:

Using the metaphor of cancer as a journey, clinicians can begin a dialogue to identify what will impede or assist the cancer journey for their American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

KEYWORDS:

Alaska Native; American Indian; cancer survivorship; indigenous methodologies; qualitative

PMID:
27541555
PMCID:
PMC5546748
DOI:
10.1188/16.ONF.625-635
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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