Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 333–340

A Qualitative Study of Cancer Information Seeking Among English-as-a-Second-Language Older Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada: Sources, Barriers, and Strategies



Little is known about the cancer information seeking experiences of Chinese immigrants despite reported disparities in cancer burden and use of cancer screening. This research used semi-structured interviews to the explore cancer information seeking preferences and experiences of 50 English-as-a-second-language older Chinese immigrant women to Canada with different levels of health literacy. Directed content analysis was used to identify three main themes: sources of cancer information, barriers to cancer information seeking, and strategies used during information seeking. Health literacy did not distinguish the women on any of the major themes. The women expressed strong preferences for interpersonal and interactive cancer information from their physician and trusted others, such as friends and family. Barriers to cancer information seeking included language difficulties and limited time with physicians. The results emphasize the need for cancer information that reinforces cultural norms, language familiarity, and other values specific to cultural identities, such as interpersonally oriented values.


Health information seeking Cancer prevention information Health literacy Immigrants 

Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, Faculty of Applied Health SciencesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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