Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 674–679 | Cite as

Qualitative Study of Latino Cancer Patient Perspectives on Care Access and Continuity in a Rural, U.S.-Mexico Border Region

  • Eunjeong KoEmail author
  • María Luisa Zúñiga
  • Helen Palomino
  • Diana Peacher
  • Mercedes Watson
Original Paper


Access to quality cancer care for cancer patients living in the rural U.S.-Mexico border region is complex due to common binational health care-seeking behaviors and regional socio-economic and cultural characteristics. But little is known about the challenges border dwelling residents face when navigating their cancer care systems. In-depth interviews were conducted with 22 cancer patients in Southern California. Thematic analysis was applied to identify patterns of meaning in the data. Emerging themes were: (1) delays in cancer care coordination: (a) poor coordination of cancer care (b) U.S. and cross-border discordance in cancer diagnosis; (2) regional shortage of cancer specialists; and (3) financial hardship. Findings revealed that care needs distinctly involved care coordination in/outside of the patient’s community and bi-national care coordination. In addition to local solutions to improve cancer coordination through community-based partnerships, efforts to bridge care in a two-nation context are also imperative.


Rural Cancer patients Latino Care barriers Binational care U.S.-Mexico border 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We would like to declare that there is no conflict of interest for all authors.

Informed Consent

All study participants signed the informed consent and this study was approved by the San Diego State University Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eunjeong Ko
    • 1
    Email author
  • María Luisa Zúñiga
    • 2
  • Helen Palomino
    • 3
  • Diana Peacher
    • 3
  • Mercedes Watson
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Social WorkSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Work, Center for Alcohol and Drug StudiesSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Cancer Resource Center of the DesertEl CentroUSA

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