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Latinas more likely to regret breast cancer treatment decisions

Spanish-speaking women need more culturally targeted information, U-M study finds

-added 11/18/08

Please note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.

Ann Arbor - Latina women who prefer speaking Spanish are more likely than other ethnic groups to express regret or dissatisfaction with their breast cancer treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Despite receiving similar treatment, Latina women were 5.6 times more likely than white women to report high levels of dissatisfaction and regret about their breast cancer treatment decision.

The researchers found that Latinas and other ethnic groups had similar levels of involvement with their doctor in deciding the treatment plan. But Latinas were more likely to say they would have preferred to be more involved in the decision making.

Researchers surveyed 925 women with non-advanced breast cancer from the Los Angeles area. Women were asked about the decision making process in choosing their breast cancer treatment. Nearly half of the women surveyed were Latina, with a quarter preferring to speak Spanish. These women were 3.5 times more likely than English-speaking Latinas to have difficulty understanding written information about breast cancer.

"Even though they received similar amounts of information as whites, Latinas who prefer speaking Spanish reported a strong desire for more information. Doctors may need to make additional effort to ensure this information is understandable and culturally appropriate for all ethnic groups to improve the decision making process for breast cancer patients," says lead study author Sarah Hawley, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

The study appears in the November issue of the journal Patient Education and Counseling.

Breast cancer statistics: 184,450 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,930 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Additional authors: Ann Hamilton, Ph.D., University of Southern California; Nancy K. Janz, Ph.D., U-M School of Public Health; Jennifer J. Griggs, M.D., M.P.H., U-M Medical School; Amy K. Alderman, M.D., M.P.H., U-M Medical School; Mahasin Mujahid, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Harvard School of Public Health; Steven J. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., U-M Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Funding: National Cancer Institute

Reference: Patient Education and Counseling, Vol. 73, issue 2, pp. 363-370.

Resources: U-M Cancer AnswerLine™, 800-865-1125.

Written by Nicole Fawcett

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Please note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.