Presentation Title (IN ALL CAPS)

PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF HISPANIC WOMEN IN A COMMUNITY-BASED CANCER SUPPORT GROUP

Departmental Affiliation and City, State, Zip for All Authors

Hispanic Outreach, Fort Worth, Texas 76104; School of Social Work, Arlington, Texas 76019; School of Social Work, Arlington, Texas 76019

Classification

Other

Research Presentation Category

Community Health and Prevention

Brief Narrative or Summary

Through a community-academic partnership, a focus group was conducted with Hispanic women participating in a community-based support group to better understand their experiences related to community services. Four themes emerged: immigration and language, survivorship, emotional support, and importance of family. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for community-based cancer care services with Hispanic women.

Scientific Abstract

PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF HISPANIC WOMEN IN A COMMUNITY-BASED CANCER SUPPORT GROUP Criselda Hinojosa*, Betty Tonui**, Marcela Gutierrez** *Cancer Care Services, 623 South Henderson Street, Fort Worth, Texas, 76104, ** School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, 211 South Cooper Street, Arlington, TX 76019 Background: Compared to White women in the United States, Hispanic/Latina women are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. This holds true in Tarrant County, Texas, where Hispanic/Latina women not only have higher rates of cervical cancer than Whites or Blacks, but are also more likely to have a late-stage diagnosis of cervical cancer. Within Tarrant County, they are also at least 40% more likely to die from cervical cancer than Whites or Blacks. Research suggests that these health disparities in cancer screening and cancer outcomes are primarily due to unequal access to health care resulting from barriers in the health care system, cultural competence of health care providers, and cultural and economic barriers. Evidence of this exists within Tarrant County, where Hispanic/Latina women have the lowest rates of cervical, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer screening of all groups. Community-based cancer care organizations often seek to address these disparities in cancer screening and outcomes through services such as cancer navigation, advocacy and economic assistance. However, it is unknown how local immigration policy might affect the effectiveness of the services. This exploratory study seeks to understand the perceptions and experiences of a group of Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based cancer support group within Tarrant County, the only metropolitan county in Texas to exclude low-income undocumented immigrants from county-funded clinic and preventive care. Methods: This study utilized a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to develop, implement and analyze a focus group with seven Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based support group. Participants were recruited from a support group provided by a community-based nonprofit organization that provides cancer care services without government funding, and is thus able to provide services to all individuals regardless of immigration status. Participants had to be 18 years and older, have a previous diagnosis of any cancer type, reside in Tarrant County, and not be in active treatment. The focus group was co-facilitated in Spanish by an academic researcher and a social worker at the nonprofit organization that facilitates the support group and subsequently transcribed and translated by a student researcher. The focus group was then reviewed by a staff member, board member, student researcher and principal investigator to identify significant statements and possible themes. The primary investigator reviewed these statements and proposed four primary themes agreed upon by all individuals. Results: The four themes that emerged from the study were immigration status and language as barriers to health care, the role of family, social and emotional support, and survivorship services. Findings suggest that immigration status and limited English fluency are significant barriers for Hispanic/Latina women in accessing health care services. The role of family emerged not only as a source of support, but also as an unmet need in caregiver services. Social and emotional support were important priorities for participants, many of whom talked related these as primary benefits of participating in the support group whether they had were in long-term remission or in active treatment. A secondary benefit of the support group, survivorship services, also emerged as many women talked about what it meant to be a survivor and how they benefitted from continued guidance to access resources. Conclusion: This focus group sought to capture the perspectives and experiences of a single group of Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based cancer support group in the only metropolitan county in Texas to exclude low-income undocumented immigrants from county-funded clinic and preventive care. The results of this study help to illustrate possible dynamics that contribute to cancer disparities among Hispanic/Latina women in Tarrant County and across the nation. Future research should seek to survey women across the state to identify whether a relationship exists between local immigration policies, immigration status, and cancer screening, diagnosis and mortality. Cancer care providers might also utilize this information in assessing the needs of their service population in order to identify barriers such as immigration status and English language fluency, develop and evaluate social and emotional support services, and engage Hispanic/Latina women in survivorship services.

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PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF HISPANIC WOMEN IN A COMMUNITY-BASED CANCER SUPPORT GROUP

PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF HISPANIC WOMEN IN A COMMUNITY-BASED CANCER SUPPORT GROUP Criselda Hinojosa*, Betty Tonui**, Marcela Gutierrez** *Cancer Care Services, 623 South Henderson Street, Fort Worth, Texas, 76104, ** School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, 211 South Cooper Street, Arlington, TX 76019 Background: Compared to White women in the United States, Hispanic/Latina women are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. This holds true in Tarrant County, Texas, where Hispanic/Latina women not only have higher rates of cervical cancer than Whites or Blacks, but are also more likely to have a late-stage diagnosis of cervical cancer. Within Tarrant County, they are also at least 40% more likely to die from cervical cancer than Whites or Blacks. Research suggests that these health disparities in cancer screening and cancer outcomes are primarily due to unequal access to health care resulting from barriers in the health care system, cultural competence of health care providers, and cultural and economic barriers. Evidence of this exists within Tarrant County, where Hispanic/Latina women have the lowest rates of cervical, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer screening of all groups. Community-based cancer care organizations often seek to address these disparities in cancer screening and outcomes through services such as cancer navigation, advocacy and economic assistance. However, it is unknown how local immigration policy might affect the effectiveness of the services. This exploratory study seeks to understand the perceptions and experiences of a group of Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based cancer support group within Tarrant County, the only metropolitan county in Texas to exclude low-income undocumented immigrants from county-funded clinic and preventive care. Methods: This study utilized a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to develop, implement and analyze a focus group with seven Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based support group. Participants were recruited from a support group provided by a community-based nonprofit organization that provides cancer care services without government funding, and is thus able to provide services to all individuals regardless of immigration status. Participants had to be 18 years and older, have a previous diagnosis of any cancer type, reside in Tarrant County, and not be in active treatment. The focus group was co-facilitated in Spanish by an academic researcher and a social worker at the nonprofit organization that facilitates the support group and subsequently transcribed and translated by a student researcher. The focus group was then reviewed by a staff member, board member, student researcher and principal investigator to identify significant statements and possible themes. The primary investigator reviewed these statements and proposed four primary themes agreed upon by all individuals. Results: The four themes that emerged from the study were immigration status and language as barriers to health care, the role of family, social and emotional support, and survivorship services. Findings suggest that immigration status and limited English fluency are significant barriers for Hispanic/Latina women in accessing health care services. The role of family emerged not only as a source of support, but also as an unmet need in caregiver services. Social and emotional support were important priorities for participants, many of whom talked related these as primary benefits of participating in the support group whether they had were in long-term remission or in active treatment. A secondary benefit of the support group, survivorship services, also emerged as many women talked about what it meant to be a survivor and how they benefitted from continued guidance to access resources. Conclusion: This focus group sought to capture the perspectives and experiences of a single group of Hispanic/Latina women participating in a community-based cancer support group in the only metropolitan county in Texas to exclude low-income undocumented immigrants from county-funded clinic and preventive care. The results of this study help to illustrate possible dynamics that contribute to cancer disparities among Hispanic/Latina women in Tarrant County and across the nation. Future research should seek to survey women across the state to identify whether a relationship exists between local immigration policies, immigration status, and cancer screening, diagnosis and mortality. Cancer care providers might also utilize this information in assessing the needs of their service population in order to identify barriers such as immigration status and English language fluency, develop and evaluate social and emotional support services, and engage Hispanic/Latina women in survivorship services.