Unequal cancer survivorship care: addressing cultural and sociodemographic disparities in the clinic

Antonella Surbone, Michael Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The number of individuals diagnosed with cancer is growing worldwide. Cancer patients from underserved populations have widely documented disparities through the continuum of cancer care. As the number of cancer survivors (i.e., individuals who have completed cancer treatment) from underserved populations also continue to grow, these individuals may continue to experience barriers to survivorship care, resulting in persistent long-term negative impacts on health and quality of life. In addition, there is limited participation of survivors from underserved populations in clinical trials and other research studies. To address disparities and change practices in survivorship care, a better understanding of the roles of both socioeconomic status (SES) and of culture in cancer care disparities and the relevance of these to providing high-quality care is needed. SES and culture often overlap but are not identical; understanding the impact of each is especially relevant to survivorship care. To enhance health equity among cancer survivors, clinicians need to practice culturally competent care, address cultural beliefs and practices that may influence survivors’ beliefs and activities, gain awareness of historical patterns of medical care in the survivor’s community, and consider how barriers to cross-cultural communications may hinder communication in clinical settings. While the design and implementation of survivorship care programs emphasizing effectiveness and equity is complex and potentially time consuming, it is critical for providing optimal care for all survivors, including those from the most vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4831-4833
Number of pages3
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume24
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Culture
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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