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Hepatitis B and liver cancer knowledge and practices among Korean Americans

John H. Choe, MD, MPH1, Nadine L. Chan, MPH2, H. Hoai Do, MPH2, Erica D. Woodall, MPH2, Eunyoung Lim, BA3, and Vicky M. Taylor, MD, MPH2. (1) Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, PO Box 19024, MP702, 1100 Fairview Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-1024, (206) 667-7802, johnchoe@u.washington.edu, (2) Cancer Prevention Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, PO Box 19024, MP702, 1100 Fairview Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-1024, (3) Department of Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Box 357660, Seattle, WA 98195

Introduction: Primary liver cancer occurs more than five times more frequently in the U.S. for Koreans than non-Latino Whites. This excess risk is largely attributable to high rates of chronic hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection and low rates of vaccination. The aim of this pilot project is to obtain qualitative information about the HBV prevention knowledge and behavior of Korean immigrants to the U.S. Methods: We are conducting thirty in-depth semi-structured interviews and four focus groups about hepatitis B and liver cancer among foreign-born Korean adults (age 18-64 years) recruited from Korean American community organizations in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington. Translated transcripts have been reviewed and discussed by the research team for emerging themes and relationships among concepts. Results: In preliminary analysis of the first fifteen interviews, we identified several barriers to health services for Korean immigrants. Barriers include social isolation, difficulty navigating the U.S. health system, and lack of medical insurance. In addition, participants have described the use of traditional Asian medicines (han yack) together with Western biomedicines in promoting health. Although participants offered examples of past family experiences with hepatitis, there have been only limited discussions about past serologic testing or HBV vaccination experiences. Conclusion: To our knowledge, there are no published reports about HBV prevention among Korean American adults using qualitative methods. Our findings will generate important information about HBV knowledge deficits and vaccination barriers; these will be targets for future intervention projects to reduce liver cancer among Koreans in the U.S.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, audience members will be able to

Keywords: Asian Americans, Hepatitis B

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Emerging Health Issues within Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Communities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA