265293 Soul Survivor: African American Breast Cancer Survivors' Use of Spirituality to Support Disease Management

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 5:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Elizabeth Williams, PhD , Public Health, Health Administration and Health Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
Mary Kelton-Smith, RN , Sisters Network Nashville, Nashville, TN
Mohamed Kanu, PhD, MPH, MA , Health Administration and Health Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
African American women with breast cancer face a multitude of physical, emotional and psychosocial issues related to the disease. These do not end once treatment is over, but continue long after. For many African American survivors spirituality provides ways to relieve stress; deal with sadness & anxieties, and make sense of their cancer experiences. Often rooted in African American faith traditions, African American breast cancer survivors use spirituality not just to feel better, but to make important decisions about care and long-term survivorship. How faith and spirituality work for African American breast cancer survivors' disease management is a relatively unexplored topic in Public Health.

The Sister Speak Study, a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) project is an attempt to understand how faith and spirituality support African American breast cancer survivors' disease management. Using Photovoice as a primary method, this study provides a way of thinking about what spirituality and faith mean for African American breast cancer survivors through pictures, stories and storytelling. Coupled with other mixed methods (surveys, focus groups, journaling), this study captures spiritual strategies African American breast cancer survivors use to filter cancer care and survivorship experiences.

As a community-based research project engaging African American breast cancer survivors, Public Health researchers, health professionals and businesses, this study further underscores the importance of considering spirituality and faith not as barriers to disease management, but as cultural assets African Americans can use to support improved cancer care and survivorship outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the relationship between spirituality, faith and disease management for African American breast cancer survivors. 2.Identify particular ways African American survivors use faith and spirituality to support breast cancer disease management. 3.Assess the utility of engaging multiple African American constituent groups in research related to cancer care and survivorship.

Keywords: African American, Disease Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal and co-principal investigator on federally funded grants and contracts focusing on cancer health disparities. Among my scientific interests has been the identification of culturally specific strategies to support cancer prevention, control and survivorship and projects which support community engagement through Community-based Participatory Research and applied activities.
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.