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J Cancer Educ. 2019 Jun;34(3):542-549. doi: 10.1007/s13187-018-1338-4.

Patient-Provider Communication: Experiences of Low-Wage-Earning Breast Cancer Survivors in Managing Cancer and Work.

Author information

1
School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.
2
School of Social Work and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.
3
Department of Health, Behavior & Society, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, 2365 Harrodsburg Road, Suite A230, Lexington, KY, 40504, USA. robin@kcr.uky.edu.

Abstract

In 2017, there will be more than 250,000 new diagnoses of invasive breast cancer; most cases will occur in working-age women. The goal of this qualitative study was to explore low-wage-earning breast cancer survivors' experiences communicating with their oncology team about cancer and employment issues. Twenty-four low-wage-earning breast cancer survivors in the USA were interviewed in 2012 using a structured interview protocol. Sociodemographic data, cancer history, and patient-provider communication experiences regarding the management of cancer and work were collected. Interviews were analyzed using grounded theory strategy of constant comparative analysis. Low-wage-earning breast cancer survivors' experiences communicating with their oncology team about employment and cancer focused on three dimensions of patient-provider communication: extent, quality, and content. Over 70% of respondents reported no communication or only routine communication with their providers regarding work; three quarters of women reported poor or standard communication quality, and content of work-related communication covered scheduling issues, work absences, continuing to work during treatment, and financial concerns. Communication between oncology care teams and low-wage-earning cancer patients is critical to the successful management of treatment and work responsibilities given the vulnerable employment situation of these women. There is a need for education of oncology team members about how cancer and its treatment can impact employment for all workers, but especially for low-wage workers, thereby allowing the care team to address these issues proactively and help patients successfully manage both cancer treatment and work responsibilities.

KEYWORDS:

Communication; Employment; Low-wage-earning breast cancer survivors; Qualitative research; Working-age women

PMID:
29480506
DOI:
10.1007/s13187-018-1338-4

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