Methods We conducted 2 focus groups (1 in Spanish, 1 in English) with Latina mothers of children who have or experienced pediatric cancer. Three mothers participated in each group, all children were between the ages of 3 and 10. Focus group respondents were asked “What was it like for you to hear that your son or daughter had been diagnosed with cancer?”, “What was it like during the process of trying to get a diagnosis?”, and “What information or resources do you think, specifically to Latinx families, would be most helpful when a child is diagnosed (with cancer)?”
Results Themes included a sense of community support at the onset of diagnosis and feelings of disbelief, surrealism, and helplessness, with an overwhelm of information, and a need for advocacy in medical settings throughout the diagnostic process. Resources needed specifically for Latinx families included more palatable and simplified information, financial assistance and resources, increased social supports for parent caregivers, and accessible Spanish-speaking providers and translators.
Conclusions and Implications Communication continues to be a major barrier for the pediatric cancer treatment cycle from diagnosis through treatment stemming from language barriers but also the quality, quantity and type of information parents receive. These issues delay diagnosis and treatment, but also impede Latinx parents from having agency during their child’s treatment. Other barriers include the provision of financial resources and assistance considering the complicated insurance and medical billing system with such a high cost illness and also lacking social support for parent caregivers. Implications for the development of intervention programs to support Latinx families and reduce the racial and economic inequality Latinx families facing childhood cancer experience will be discussed.
American Cancer Society (2018). Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2018-2020. Retrieved April, 4, 2019 from https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-hispanics-and-latinos/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-hispanics-and-latinos-2018-2020.pdf
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Sobo, E. J. (2004). Good communication in pediatric cancer care: A culturally-informed research agenda. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 21(3), 150-154.