Cancer Stage Knowledge and Desire for Information: Mismatch in Latino Cancer Patients?
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- Costas-Muniz, R., Sen, R., Leng, J. et al. J Canc Educ (2013) 28: 458. doi:10.1007/s13187-013-0487-8
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Having more health knowledge has a crucial and positive impact on cancer outcomes. Patients’ cancer knowledge influences their ability to participate actively in decision-making processes for medical care and in treatment choices. The purpose of this study was to determine the demographic and medical correlates of lack of cancer stage knowledge and desire for information among Latino cancer patients. The sample included 271 underserved Latino cancer patients recruited from four cancer clinics in New York City. Participants completed a needs assessment survey in their preferred language, which included sociodemographic and health-related questions. Close to two-thirds of the sample (65 %) had no knowledge of their stage, and 38 % were unaware of the metastatic state of their tumor. Only 15 % of the patients expressed that they would like additional information about their diagnosis and/or treatment. After controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, being an immigrant with limited English proficiency and monolingual in Spanish were predictors of stage unawareness and less desire/need for cancer information. Patients needing interpretation for health care were less likely to know whether their tumor had metastasized and their cancer stage and to desire information about their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. This study shows considerably low levels of stage awareness among Latinos diagnosed with cancer. This lack of knowledge might adversely impact their treatment decisions and disease management. Future studies should focus on identifying barriers to acquisition of disease information and other disease-specific informational deficits.