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Asian and Hispanic Cancer Survivors Reported Poorer Follow-up Care Communication With Providers

October 28, 2012
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  • In adjusted analyses, findings persisted for Asian survivors only.
  • Poor communication may contribute to poor ratings for follow-up care.

SAN DIEGO — Asian and Hispanic cancer survivors reported poorer patient–provider communication regarding their follow-up care compared with non-Hispanic white cancer survivors, according to data presented at the Fifth AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held here Oct. 27-30, 2012.

“Many minority cancer survivors report poor communication with cancer health care providers after their cancer treatment, and this contributes to their perceptions of poor-quality care,” said Nynikka Palmer, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., a postdoctoral fellow in the department of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“When discussing patient–provider communication, we are referring to patients feeling like they are listened to, things are explained to them in ways they understand, they are encouraged to ask questions, they are involved in medical decisions and they get the help they want,” added Palmer.

The researchers analyzed data from a study of 1,215 cancer survivors recruited from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results cancer registries in California. Patients completed a mailed survey on cancer follow-up care. Twenty-four percent were African-American, 22 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 13 percent were Hispanic and 39 percent were non-Hispanic white. Patients were survivors of breast, prostate, colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Compared with non-Hispanic white survivors, all minority survivors reported poorer explanation of medical tests, according to the study results. Asian and Hispanic survivors reported poorer follow-up care communication.

In addition, Asian survivors were 54 percent less likely to report receiving desired help with symptoms/side effects. African-American and Asian survivors, respectively, were 45 percent and 47 percent less likely to report high overall ratings of follow-up care quality compared with non-Hispanic white survivors.

After adjusting for several factors including patient–provider communication, Asian survivors remained 49 percent less likely to rate overall follow-up care as good or excellent compared with non-Hispanic white survivors. No other significant racial/ethnic differences remained.

“We included many factors to try to explain racial/ethnic differences in perceived follow-up care quality, including patient–provider communication, but we are still not able to explain why Asian survivors report poorer care quality,” Palmer said. “It will be important to look at other factors such as cultural competency and possible language barriers.”

This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer.

For more information about the AACR, visit

Media Contact:
Jeremy Moore
(215) 446-7109
In San Diego, Oct. 27-30:
(619) 358-6870

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