An Afrocentric perspective: needs of breast cancer survivors
Coggin, Claudia Stickney
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The number of breast cancer survivors has continued to increase over the last 10 years. Surviving a cancer diagnosis changes all aspects of a woman's life forever. The purpose of this study was to identify the needs of Black/African American breast cancer survivors using a Delphi Technique and to determine the resources available, accessible and used by these breast cancer survivors. The researcher applied a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the data. Nominations for a panel of experts (participants) were solicited from the Sisters Network, Inc., a national African American breast cancer support group, and other service providers. Invitation letters and a Round One Questionnaire were sent to 216 Black/African American breast cancer survivors. One hundred forty participants returned completed surveys. Ninety of the 140 participants returned a self-addressed label indicating their willingness to continue in the study. Each of the 90 participants was mailed the Round Two Questionnaire and 81 returned the questionnaire. Eighty-one participants were mailed the Round Three Questionnaire. Sixty-two returned the third and final questionnaire of the Delphi Technique process. Black/African American breast cancer survivors identified their most important needs to be: (1) to have a full range of affordable, accessible, acceptable, and appropriate medical care and other support services; (2) to have a loving, caring family; (3) to know who to contact for information regarding breast cancer symptoms or related health problems; (4) to have strong faith and relationship with God; and (5) to have adequate resources for self-care and care for their family. The study findings can be used to guide health educators in designing and implementing culturally appropriate programs to assist Black/African American breast cancer survivors to access and utilize available support services. Further, health educators could assist breast cancer support groups, service providers, and other community organizations design educational programs/services that are culturally appropriate for Black/African American breast cancer survivors. Efforts to address survivorship needs of diverse groups of women require knowledge and understanding of the needs of all women who experience and survive breast cancer.