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Quality of Life in Latina Breast Cancer Survivors

Kristi D. Graves at Georgetown University Medical center
Study abstract

"Quality of Life in Latina Breast Cancer Survivors: The Role of Culture"
Estudio de Calidad de Vida en Latinas Sobrevivientes de Cáncer de Mama
Introduction: Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States, represent 15% of total population (35.7 million), and face a number of grave health disparities. By 2050, Latinos will be 25% of the US population.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Latino women (“Latinas”). Although Latinas have lower absolute incidence rates than Caucasians, Latinas have a disproportionately high morbidity and mortality attributable to breast cancer. Limited research has been conducted on the experiences of Latina breast cancer survivors and we currently know little about the quality of life (QOL) in this growing US minority population of survivors.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer struggle with many unique issues, including treatment decisions, fear of recurrence, future health and cancer concerns fertility concerns, dating and relationship issues, early menopause induced by cancer treatments, and experiencing other side effects from treatments. Latina breast cancer survivors seem to have unique needs and cultural perspectives during and after active treatment and into the period of long-term survivorship.
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is conducting a research study to better understand the experience of Latinas who have been diagnosed with breast cancer within the last 5 years. This research study is funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is titled “Quality of Life in Latinas: The Role of Culture”. The Principal Investigator is Dr Kristi D. Graves PhD and Janet M. Cañar, MD, MPH, is the Program Coordinator.
Purpose: The goal of this study is to learn about the natural history of Latinas’ breast cancer survivorship experience and evaluate how cultural factors, beliefs, and values, language, and treatment experiences influence and impact quality of life (QOL) quality of life of Latinas. With the knowledge we gain from this study, we hope to ultimately improve quality of life both during and after treatment in this underserved and growing population.
Phase I: We conducted in-depth interviews with 25 Latina breast cancer survivors and two focus groups with 10 additional survivors. Phase II: We conducted 10 cognitive interviews with Latina breast cancer survivors to pilot test a survey.
Phase III: We are currently conducting telephone interviews with Latina breast cancer survivors nationwide, using the revised survey. We employ multiple methods of participant recruitment including communication media (radio), newspapers, listservs, website recruitment, community and hospital-based support groups and organizations, physician offices, and word of mouth. To date, 138 participants have completed the one-time survey conducted over the telephone or completed by mail. Interviews are conducted in the language of the patient’s choice (Spanish or English).
Our collaborators: Nueva Vida, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Sustainable Food Center, Austin TX, Las Comadres para las Americas(an informal Internet-based group).

Study review

This study at Georgetown University is investigating how cultural factors influence quality of life in Latina breast cancer survivors. The researchers were looking to enroll at least 100 volunteers. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women members on December 17, 2009. The researchers were able to close enrollment on January 5, 2010, after the Army of Women provided them with 125 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.

Research Webinar:
Latina Breast Cancer Survivors Quality of Life Study

Resulting Publications: