Journal of Community Health

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 451–466

Understanding Immigrant Chinese Americans’ Participation in Cancer Screening and Clinical Trials


  • Jennifer S. Lin
  • Alyssa Finlay
  • Angela Tu
    • Center for Immigrant HealthNYU School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-005-7280-5

Cite this article as:
Lin, J.S., Finlay, A., Tu, A. et al. J Community Health (2005) 30: 451. doi:10.1007/s10900-005-7280-5


The purpose of this study was to identify potential barriers and facilitators to Chinese immigrant participation in cancer screening and clinical trials. A series of focus groups, in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, were conducted with physicians, community leaders, and first generation members of the Manhattan Chinatown community. Participants were asked to discuss their beliefs about cancer, cancer screening, clinical trials, and cancer health education materials. Focus group data were stratified by respondent group and analyzed for thematic content. Eleven physicians, 15 community leaders, and 38 community members participated. Some community members were not familiar with cancer screening as a preventive measure and had not received common screens such as PAP smears or mammograms. They described widespread misconceptions about cancer that act as screening deterrents, e.g. testing for cancer can cause cancer. Community members were unfamiliar with clinical trials and would not participate in a clinical trial unless “sick,” and only on the recommendation of their physicians. Physicians did not see the relevance or value of clinical trials for their patients. Among first generation Chinese immigrants, there are many perceptual barriers to cancer screening and clinical trials recruitment. There is a need for effective culturally tailored health education on these health topics to address persistent misconceptions about cancer and to increase knowledge about cancer screening and clinical trials. Health education efforts and clinical trial recruitment in this community must involve community physicians.

Key words

cancer screeningChineseclinical trialsimmigrant

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005