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Cultural considerations for South Asian women with breast cancer

Abstract

Purpose

Cultural values shape a woman’s experience of disease and introduce novel stressors that influence psychosocial needs and adaptation. This literature review examines the psychosocial impact of breast cancer in South Asian women, a large group that has received little attention in this regard.

Methods

We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature published before April 2014 using Ovid MEDLINE, PsychINFO, PubMED, CINHAL, EMBASE, and Sociological Abstracts. We searched for articles about the psychosocial impact of breast cancer in South Asian women. We retained 23 studies for review.

Results

The literature concerning South Asian women’s experiences identified culturally linked themes that play significant roles in shaping the illness experience; e.g., stigma and breast cancer, low priority of women’s health, collective experience of disease, and religion and spirituality.

Conclusion

There is a growing need for culturally sensitive care for South Asian women. By understanding the core cultural values and integrating them into clinical practice, Western healthcare providers may improve the quality of care they deliver and help women to extract the maximum benefit.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Developing culturally competent support services may enhance effectiveness in addressing the healthcare needs of South Asian women and may serve other ethnic minorities in North America.

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Manveen Bedi and Gerald M. Devins declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Bedi, M., Devins, G.M. Cultural considerations for South Asian women with breast cancer. J Cancer Surviv 10, 31–50 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-015-0449-8

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Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • South Asian women
  • Culture
  • Psychosocial impact