203133 Evaluation of Support Groups for Asian American and Pacific Islander Survivors

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, RN, MN , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, CA
Annalyn Valdez-Dadia, MPH , UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Lindsay Gervacio, MPH , Families in Good Health, St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach, CA
Background/Significance: Few Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) cancer survivors receive any support services throughout the cancer continuum. In addition to the growing number of AAPIs suffering from cancer, the paucity of support groups and culturally salient resources make a compelling argument for the evaluation of existing support services so as to define the distinct cultural variations that make these groups effective.

Objective/Purpose: To identify culturally specific support group elements that impact the well-being of cancer patients, survivors, and their family/friends, and to identify how these variations differ from mainstream support groups.

Methods: Forty support group participants (20 patients/survivors and 20 friends/family members) and 6 key informants (3 from each community) were recruited for a focus group or individual interview. Each patient/survivor involved in the support group was asked to identify a family member/friend who was part of their support network to participate in the study. Key informants were identified by two AAPI community-based agency leaders.

Results: Culturally specific cancer support group programs increase the likelihood of survival and improve the lives of breast cancer patients/survivors as well as their caregivers, family members and friends. These support groups provide distinct cultural elements that enable cancer patients/survivors, family members and friends to access the services needed to achieve a greater sense of well-being.

Conclusion: The resources, services and social support provided by the AAPI support groups have improved the lives of breast cancer patients, survivors, and their family members and friends by developing a greater sense of community, advocacy and self-empowerment.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss, from a cultural perspective, how ethnic specific cancer support group services have assisted patients and their families overcome many of the barriers encountered throughout the cancer experience.

Keywords: Cancer, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Program Coordinator for the study involved in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.