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Perception and treatment of cancer pain among Spanish-speaking populations in the United States

Lenora E. Johnson, MPH, Office on Education and Special Initiatives, National Cancer Institute, 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 202, Bethesda, MD 20892, Aracely Rosales, Plain Language and Culture, Inc., 510 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119, and Rikki S. Welch, MA, ORC Macro, 11785 Beltsville Drive, Calverton, MD 20705, 301-572-0466, rikki.s.welch@orcmacro.com.

As part of a research effort prior to revising public education materials on cancer pain, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Office of Education and Special Initiatives (OESI) conducted focus groups designed to gather information concerning perceptions of cancer pain and pain management in the Latino community. Four focus groups, including two for cancer patients and two for patient-caregiver dyads, were conducted in large urban centers in the northeast. The groups were asked to discuss their beliefs and perceptions about cancer pain,the etiology of cancer pain and methods of alleviation. Participants offered recommendations for the development of cancer pain education materials. The open sharing of beliefs and experiences created a valuable pool of information to serve as a base for the creation of appropriate and relevant materials for Latino cancer patients. Specific findings of the focus groups include: patient response to pain and factors which may inhibit communication about pain; use of medications, including a pervasive fear of addiction which may hinder adequate use of medications to control pain; patient perceptions of the roles of the doctor and nurse; perceptions of patient-provider communication and the assumption that health care providers should automatically “know” what patients are experiencing; the role of language in discussing pain with providers; medical sources of pain relief including comments on the use of the words “narcotic” and “drug” in publications; complementary and alternative sources of pain relief common in the Latino community; and information needs of patients and family members.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the end of this poster presentation participants will be able to

    Keywords: Cancer, Latino Health

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
    Relationship: Employer is contracted with the National Cancer Institute

    Experiences of Cancer

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