Racial/ethnic differences in adequacy of information and support for women with breast cancer.

 BACKGROUND: Providing breast cancer patients with needed information and support is an essential component of quality care. This study investigated racial/ethnic variations in the information received and in the availability of peer support. METHODS: In total, 1766 women who were diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast cancer and reported to the Los Angeles County Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry from June 2005 to May 2006 were mailed a survey after initial treatment. Among accrued cases, 96.2% met eligibility criteria (n = 1698), and 72% completed the survey. Race/ethnicity categories were white, African American, and Latinas (2 categories indicating low or high acculturation, which was determined by using the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics). Outcomes included receipt and need for treatment-related and survivorship-related information, difficulty understanding information, and support from women with breast cancer. RESULTS: More women reported receiving treatment-related information than survivorship-related information. After adjusting for sociodemographic, clinical, and treatment factors, a higher percentage of low acculturated Latina women desired more information on treatment-related and survivorship-related issues (P < .001). Significantly more Latina low acculturated women than white women reported difficulty understanding written materials, with 74.5% requiring help from others. A higher percentage of all minority groups compared with whites reported no contact with other women with breast cancer (P < .05) and reported less contact through family/friends (P < .05). Women rated the benefit of talking to other women high, particularly with emotional issues. CONCLUSIONS: Continued efforts to provide culturally appropriate information and support needs to women with breast cancer are necessary to achieve quality care. Latinas with low acculturation reported more unmet information and care support needs than women in other racial/ethnic groups. (c) 2008 American Cancer Society.

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