Breast cancer and coping among women of color: a systematic review of the literature
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer for women regardless of race/ethnicity. Women of color are diagnosed at later stages and experience greater mortality than their White counterparts. However, there has been comparatively little research on coping with breast among racial/ethnic minorities at time of diagnosis, during treatment, or in the course of survivorship. This is despite the fact that research has repeatedly shown that distress can impact disease progression and survival. The questions asked of this systematic literature review include: (1) What is known about coping with breast cancer among major racial/ethnic groups? (2) What are the strengths and gaps in research to date? Over 120 peer-reviewed published studies (1980–2012) were reviewed. A total of 33 met criteria for inclusion including 15 quantitative, 17 qualitative, and 1 mixed methods study. The majority of studies were small sample cross-sectional studies. Only five studies were longitudinal, and two randomized-controlled intervention trials sought to improve coping among survivors. The most common topic in both quantitative and qualitative studies was spirituality and coping among African American breast cancer patients. Thirteen studies included Latinas only or in combination with other groups. Only one quantitative and one qualitative study solely addressed the Asian American population exploring coping and adjustment. In the course of this systematic literature review, we elucidate what is known about coping with breast cancer among racial/ethnic minority women and identify priorities for future research.