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Cancer and communication in the health care setting: experiences of older Vietnamese immigrants, a qualitative study

TitleCancer and communication in the health care setting: experiences of older Vietnamese immigrants, a qualitative study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsNguyen, GT, Barg, FK, Armstrong, K, Holmes, JH, Hornik, RC
JournalJ Gen Intern MedJ Gen Intern Med
Volume23
Pagination45-50
Date PublishedJan
ISBN Number1525-1497 (Electronic)<br/>0884-8734 (Linking)
Accession Number18030538
KeywordsAged, Asian Americans, Cohort Studies, Communication Barriers, Emigrants and Immigrants, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms/diagnosis/ ethnology/therapy, Philadelphia, Physician-Patient Relations, Vietnam/ethnology
AbstractBACKGROUND: As patients grow older, accurate communication with health care providers about cancer becomes increasingly important. However, little is known about the cancer communication experiences of older Asian immigrants. OBJECTIVE: To learn about the cancer-related communication experiences of older Vietnamese immigrants from the insider perspective. DESIGN: Qualitative study (grounded theory, constant comparative method) using individual interviews with older Vietnamese immigrants with the purpose of discussing how they learn about cancer. Interviews were conducted in Vietnamese. PARTICIPANTS: Vietnamese immigrants aged 50-70 years, recruited through community-based organizations. Most had low education and limited English proficiency. The sample size of 20 was sufficient to achieve theoretical saturation. RESULTS: We identified 3 categories of themes concerning informants' experiences with cancer communication in the health care setting: (1) attitudes about addressing screening with providers, (2) issues/problems communicating with physicians about cancer, and (3) language/translation difficulties. There was substantial overlap between informants who mentioned each theme category, and 40% of the participants mentioned all 3 categories. CONCLUSION: Clinicians should be aware of and act upon specific cancer communication needs/challenges of their older immigrant patients. Moreover, health care systems need to be prepared to address the needs of an increasingly multiethnic and linguistically diverse patient population. Finally, community-level interventions should address baseline knowledge deficits while encouraging immigrant patients to engage their doctors in discussions about cancer screening.