Health information; Latinos; Cancer Information Service


Communication | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 Latino cancer patients diagnosed in California; 10 health professionals from the San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno, California; and 10 Cancer Information Services (CIS) information specialists from the regional offices handling calls from Spanish-speakers. Interview guides were designed by the investigators to answer three main research questions: 1) How do Latinos obtain information about cancer and what types of information do they access?; 2) What sources of cancer information do they seek out and find credible?; and 3) What are the barriers and facilitators to Latinos obtaining cancer information? Stakeholders generally viewed health professionals as the most credible source of cancer information. All groups regarded family and friends as important sources of information. Patients and health professionals tended to differ on the value of print materials. Although patients found them generally useful, health professionals tended to view them as inadequate for meeting the informational needs of their Latino patients due to the challenge of low health literacy. Health professionals also tended to undervalue internet resources compared to patients and CIS specialists. All stakeholders viewed language, ethnic discordance and the impact on patients of the initial diagnosis as barriers to effective communication of cancer information. Health professionals and CIS specialists, but not patients, mentioned low literacy as a barrier. Our findings underscore the importance of the physician-patient relationship as a point of intervention to address the unmet informational and psychosocial needs of Latino cancer patients.