Latinas: 'Cancer was just meant to be'

October 18, 2010

Fatalism may prevent women from Latin American descent - Latinas - from using cancer screening services, according to Karla Espinosa de los Monteros and Dr. Linda Gallo from San Diego State University in the US. Their review (1) shows that women who are pessimistic about preventive health practices and disease outcomes are less likely to have been screened for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer. The research is published online in Springer's International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Latinas have some of the lowest cancer screening rates in the United States. They are also more likely than non-Latino Whites to believe that cancer cannot be prevented and that death is inevitable after diagnosis. Such beliefs are likely to result in few perceived benefits to screening. Fatalism may therefore be an important factor in explaining the underutilization of cancer screening services among Latinas.

The authors reviewed eleven quantitative studies measuring the relationship between fatalism and Latinas' cancer screening behavior. The aim was to understand how significant a factor this relationship is in predicting participation in cancer screening, over the influence of low socio-economic status and often limited access to healthcare in this group. Eight of the eleven studies looked at cervical cancer screening, seven at breast cancer screening and one at colorectal cancer screening.

To assess whether they were fatalistic, women were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with statements such as "cancer is like a death sentence," "cancer is God's punishment," "illness is a matter of chance," "there is little that I can do to prevent cancer," "it does not do any good to try to change the future because the future is in the hands of God."

The researchers found that seven of the eleven studies reported a statistically significant inverse association between fatalism and utilization of cancer screening services. This suggests that fatalism may indeed act as a barrier to cancer screening, taking into account socio-economic status and access to health services. However, the authors caution that additional research is necessary to enhance our understanding of the relationships among socioeconomic and structural barriers to health services, fatalism, and cancer screening behavior.

The authors conclude: "Improving our understanding of the importance of fatalism in explaining underutilization of cancer screening services among Latinas may drive the development of more effective and culturally appropriate interventions to reduce ethnic disparities in cancer."
-end-
Reference

1. Espinosa de los Monteros K & Gallo LC (2010). The relevance of fatalism in the study of Latina's cancer screening behavior; a systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine; DOI 10.1007/s12529-010-9119-4

Springer

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.