Online Program

Addressing the psychosocial support needs of cancer co-survivors in low-income communities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Catherine Marshall, PhD, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Melissa Curran, PhD, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Susan Silverberg Koerner, PhD, Department of Human & Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, Pima County Health Department, Pima County Health Dept and The University of Arizona, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, AZ
Jean Demmler, PhD, Heartland Network for Social Research, Denver, CO
Mika Niemelä, PhD, Effective Child & Family Program, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helskinki, Finland
Thilo Kroll, PhD, School of Nursing & Midwifery / Social Dimensions of Health Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Background: Family members and friends, referred to as co-survivors, provide crucial support to cancer survivors during and after acute cancer treatment. The impact of living with cancer on one's mental health and emotional wellbeing can be profound. So too, navigating cancer-related systems can be challenging for co-survivors as they attempt to access social supports and important health information. The aim of the presentation is to present evaluation findings from an innovative community-based intervention called “Un Abrazo Para La Familia,” designed to assist co-survivors from low-income communities. Methods: The intervention was delivered in a low-income, predominately Hispanic community involving the training and use of lay community-health workers. Over two years, 120 co-survivors participated in the preventive intervention. Pre-post survey measures of knowledge about cancer and self-efficacy were employed. Results: The majority of participants (96%) were women and all but one were Hispanic. Evaluation findings indicate important benefits for co-survivors in the form of increased cancer knowledge and improved self-efficacy. Our work and research focus has led to the establishment of a European-US collaboration: FRED (Family-Focused Research, Education and Development). Un Abrazo findings will be contextualized within the conceptual frameworks and research findings of relevant psychosocial interventions, such as Finland's “Let's Talk about Children” and “Family Talk Intervention.” Conclusions. Family-focused support for cancer co-survivors from low socioeconomic backgrounds requires innovative solutions to promote health and well-being. FRED provides a platform for global learning about innovative, preventive interventions and the need for local community-based support, such as Un Abrazo, for families with cancer.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how addressing the needs of co-survivors of cancer contributes to the well-being and Mental health of a community. Explain why lay community-health workers would be used to provide community-level preventive interventions for low-income families experiencing cancer-related stress. Describe how FRED provides a platform for global learning about innovative, preventive interventions in mental health.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was Psychoeducational Director for the Un Abrazo Para La Familia program and a founder of FRED.
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.