Advance care planning among Colombian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican women with a cancer diagnosis



Limited knowledge exists pertaining to advance care planning (ACP) among Colombian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican women with a cancer diagnosis living in Central Florida, in the USA. The purpose of the study is to identify factors that facilitated the completion of ACP and decisions making patterns among the three groups of Latinas.


The research method used was an exploratory qualitative in-depth open-ended semi-structured interview with a grounded theoretical approach and thematic analysis. The interviews were conducted in Spanish with a purposeful sample of 45 Latinas (15 in each group) diagnosed with cancer.


A total of ten women (22 %) in the study documented at least one form of ACP. Thirty-five women identified obstacles to accessing information regarding ACP, relating this to insurance and financial factors. Among the Colombian women, one completed a living will, health care surrogate, and power of attorney (all forms of ACP), and three just a living will. Two Puerto Rican women completed all, two a living will, and one both a living will and an enduring power of attorney. Only one Mexican woman completed a living will.


This study identifies a knowledge gap regarding ACP among Latina women with cancer diagnosis living in Central Florida, in the USA. Differences between the three groups exist as a result of migration/immigration history, family support, education, English language proficiency, income, knowledge gaps, and information ascertained by medical and health professionals. These differences contribute to their readiness, receptiveness, and willingness to engage in documenting a living will, a health care surrogate, and an enduring power of attorney for health decisions.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. Lee Green and Dr. Richard Roetzheim for their support and the Latina women who generously participated in the study. They also thank Ingrid Asmar and Milagros Porter for all their contributions as research assistants. This study was supported by the Division of Population Sciences, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and the Division for Equal Health, University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, National Institute of Health grant number P20 MDD00375-01.

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Correspondence to Iraida V. Carrion.

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Carrion, I.V., Nedjat-Haiem, F.R., Martinez-Tyson, D. et al. Advance care planning among Colombian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican women with a cancer diagnosis. Support Care Cancer 21, 1233–1239 (2013).

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  • Advance care planning
  • Latina
  • Cancer
  • Health decisions