Online Program

Health information seeking and support for South Asian immigrant cancer survivors

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Sheba George, PhD, Center for Biomedical Informatics, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Lynwood, CA
Zul Surani, BS, Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, RN, MN, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, CA
Background/Significance: Because the internet has replaced physicians as the primary health information source for cancer-survivors, it is important to uncover barriers and facilitators, such as educational and cultural differences, that affect their ability to find accurate and timely cancer information, particularly on-line. While Asian Americans are the fastest growing U.S racial/ethnic minority, 2) cancer is the leading cause of their death and 3) cancer knowledge is low among them, there is little research that has investigated their cancer information seeking strategies. Objective/Purpose: Due to extreme diversity within this population, this study aims to qualitatively examine the cancer information-seeking patterns of the second-largest Asian American group, South Asians. Methods: 90-minute to 2 hour in-person in-depth interviews are being conducted with a sample of 20 dyads, including 20 South Asian cancer survivors, varying by level of education (survivors with high school and lower vs. college and higher) and 20 of their information-support providing significant others (family member or friend). Questions address a range of domains including expectations, experiences, behaviors and underlying needs that shape cancer health information seeking. Results: South Asian cancer survivors, whether they had high school education or college education, tended to collaborate with or rely entirely on a family member to manage their information needs and health-related decision-making. Those with high school or less education appear to more likely do so. Discussion/Conclusions: To better understand health information seeking for Asian Americans, particularly recent immigrants, models of culturally collaborative or surrogate information seeking are needed compared to existing models assuming autonomous individual information-seeking. For many South Asian cancer survivors, the very fabric of life is intertwined with that of family/friends due to cultural, logistical, and linguistic dependency. Such a conceptualization would allow interventions to adapt health information resources/channels to more relevantly meet the needs of these sub-populations.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
List community and individual level barriers and facilitators to cancer health information seeking among South Asian cancer survivors and their family members/friends who provide health information seeking support. Compare the differences and similarities in the health information seeking behaviors, experiences and needs of South Asian cancer survivors with high school or less education versus those with college or higher education.

Keyword(s): Health Information, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal investigator of several federally funded grants focussing on health disparities among minority populations and have developed an expertise in the use of health information technologies and worked among South Asian populations for several decades.
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.