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The Impact of Breast Cancer on the Hispanic Family

2002-03

SUMMARY

Little research has focused on the experience of breast cancer patients’ families, so the purpose of this study was to assess the psychosocial impact of cancer on the families of 50 Hispanic breast cancer patients. The study collected baseline data on psychosocial and spiritual quality of life issues and concerns among the families of Hispanic breast cancer patients referred by local groups or clinics. It also assessed any changes in those data related to quality of life measures, patient medical status and family demographics.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

  • Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH
    IHPR, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (at Baylor College of Medicine for this project)

CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

  • Alexander Miller, MD
    Director of Surgical Oncology and Director of the Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment Clinic, Texas Cancer Clinic (at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center for this project)

COLLABORATORS

  • Sharon Wilks, MD
  • Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF)
  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure, San Antonio affiliate
  • Carmen Boudreau, LSW, Support Group Facilitator, University Hospital Downtown, San Antonio

LOCATION/SERVICE AREA

San Antonio, Texas, and surrounding areas

CONCLUSIONS

The study indicated that the greatest impact on family members of Hispanic/Latina breast cancer patients is an increased sense of vulnerability to cancer that dissipates over time. Also, interest for genetic testing was high among Hispanic/Latino family members of patients and survivors, yet knowledge levels appear to be very low. Hispanic/Latino family members of breast cancer patients and survivors need to be educated about genetic testing, including its benefits, risks and limitations, and the implications of the results. The data collected in this study allowed researchers to start mapping the stages that families go through in the process of living with an individual suffering from breast cancer, enabling a new avenue for developing longitudinal future studies to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Ramirez AG, Aparicio-Ting FE, San Miguel de Majors S, Miller AR. 2006. Interest, awareness, and perceptions of genetic testing among Hispanic family members of breast cancer survivors. Ethnicity & Disease, 16(2): 398-403.
  • Aparicio-Ting F, and Ramirez AG. 2003. Breast and cervical cancer knowledge, attitudes and screening practices of Hispanic women diagnosed with cancer. Journal of Cancer Education, Vol. 18, No. 4.

ABSTRACTS

  • Ramirez AG, Miller A, Gonzalez M, San Miguel SL, Aparicio-Ting F, and Pascua C. A pilot study comparing the psychosocial needs of Hispanic families of breast cancer patients and survivors. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec. 11-14, 2002.
  • Ramirez AG, Miller A, Gonzalez M, San Miguel SL, Aparicio-Ting F, and Pascua C. Knowledge, attitudes, and interest in genetic testing among Hispanic family members of breast cancer patients and survivors. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. AACR Frontiers in Cancer Research in Boston, Oct. 14-18, 2002.
  • Ramirez AG, Miller A, Gonzalez M, San Miguel SL, and Aparicio-Ting F. Psychosocial needs of Hispanic families with breast cancer. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. San Antonio Cancer Institute, Symposium on Cancer Research in San Antonio, July 12, 2002.