Race and ethnicity have a significant impact on the amount women with breast cancer worry about recurrence, with less acculturated Latina women being especially susceptible to high levels of worry, according to a study published online March 28 in Cancer.
Nancy K. Janz, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated how women’s race, ethnicity, and health care experiences affect their level of worry about breast cancer recurrence. A total of 2,290 women with nonmetastatic breast cancer responded to a survey evaluating race/ethnicity and levels of worry about cancer recurrence in the same breast, occurring in the other breast, or spreading. Worry was measured after adjusting for sociodemographics, clinical/treatment, and health care experience factors.
The researchers found that, compared to whites, less acculturated Latinas reported significantly more worry, and African-Americans reported less worry. Race/ethnicity remained significantly correlated with the amount of worry, even after controlling for confounding factors. Younger age, being employed, having more pain and fatigue, and radiation treatment were all independently associated with more worry. Greater ease of understanding information, improved symptom management, and better coordinated care were all significantly correlated with lower worry.
“Less acculturated Latina breast cancer patients are vulnerable to high levels of worry. Interventions that improve information exchange, symptom management, and coordinating care hold promise in reducing worry,” the authors write.