Abstract: (WITHDRAWN) Older Latinos/As Facing Inequality: Battling the "Mis" Information Age (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

678P (WITHDRAWN) Older Latinos/As Facing Inequality: Battling the "Mis" Information Age

Sunday, January 19, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Iraida Carrion, PhD, LCSW, Associate Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Tania Estape, PhD, Psychologist, FEFOC, Fundacion Contra El Cancer, Barcelona, Spain
Manlinee Neelamegam, PhD, Post-Doc, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Jane Roberts, PhD, LCSW, Chair, Duvall Family Studies, University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee, Sarasota, FL
Jorge Estape, MD, MD, FEFOC, Fundacion Contra El Cancer, Barcelona, Spain
Background: There is evidence that although much information is available regarding cancer older Latinos/as’ lack knowledge about options for cancer treatment, as a result they tend to be under-served in this regard. Given the growing population of older Latinos/as diagnosed with cancer, the study addresses the current lack of relevant data to illuminate this issue. Older Latinos/as diagnosed with cancer experience social inequalities, and other barriers due to their limited English language proficiency and access to health care. In addition, for Latinos/as, a cancer diagnosis magnifies health disparities substantially (Gehlert & Colditz, 2011). Little is known about the factors that influence cancer treatment preferences among older Latinos/as, who are often underrepresented in research studies.

Methods: The study examines beliefs about cancer and available treatment options among Latinos/as aged 60 years and older in the Tampa Bay Area. A survey administered in Spanish addressed five key areas of cancer awareness: knowledge, attitudes, prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Using convenience sampling (N = 200), 66% of those recruited were female and 34% were male; of these, 29% were Colombian, 24% were Puerto Rican, 11% were Cuban, and 30% were from other Latino groups. Participants’ median age was 68 years; median length of stay (LOS) in the US was 26 years, and 34% had a college education. Summary statistics were calculated for each interval and ratio variable, and binary logistic regression was used to determine whether age, gender, country of origin, or LOS had a significant effect on treatment preference.

Results: Male and female participants’ beliefs about cancer did not differ significantly. While older Latinos have some understanding of the causes of cancer, 59% expressed the belief that radiation, chemotherapy, and cancer-related surgery are dangerous. Most participants (92%) indicated that they would prefer to know if they had cancer, and that they would tell their friends and family if diagnosed with cancer (89%). Only 27% indicated that they would prefer to receive no treatment if they developed cancer in the future. Older Latinos/as may resist or avoid cancer treatment because of a lack of knowledge regarding outcomes. Most participants (82%) acknowledged that cancer patients need a psychologist (78%), and that being lively and positive improves the condition.

Conclusions and Implications: The findings suggest that older Latinos/as have some knowledge of the causes of cancer but lack knowledge regarding cancer treatment outcomes, which may explain why they are currently underrepresented as users of cancer treatment services. Attitudes about cancer vary depending on the educational level of older Latinos and may impact treatment decisions. These findings can be used to enhance information about cancer and education provided to older Latinos.

These findings will enable clinicians, researchers, healthcare organizations, and policy makers to more effectively comprehend knowledge about cancer among the under-served older Latino/as population and to apply that knowledge in daily practice and patient care. In particular, the findings can enhance the information provided to the Latino community about evidence-based interventions by demystifying cancer treatments, ensuring culturally competent intervention and psycho social care.