American Indian Women Cancer Survivor’s Needs and Preferences: Community Support for Cancer Experiencesedit
Cancer (the focus of this inquiry) is the leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women. The purpose of this study was to identify American Indian women cancer survivors’ needs and preferences related to community supports for their cancer experience. This qualitative study examined female American Indian cancer survivors’ needs and preferences about community support. The sample included 43 American Indian women cancer survivors (the types of cancer survivors included cervical cancer: n = 14; breast cancer: n = 14; and colon and other types: n = 15) residing in the Northern Plains region, in the state of South Dakota. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and were collected between June of 2014 and February of 2015. When asked about their needs and preferences, 82% of participants (n = 35) of female American Indian cancer survivors reported at least one of the following most commonly reported themes: cancer support groups (n = 31, 72%), infrastructure for community support (n = 17, 40%), and cancer education (n = 11, 26%). In addition to the aforementioned themes, 33% of participants (n = 14) indicated the need for an improved healthcare system, with 11% (n = 5) of participants expressly desiring the integration of spirituality and holistic healing options. The majority of American Indian women cancer survivor participants of this study identified a need for more community-based support systems and infrastructures to aid with the cancer survivor experience. Results warrant a community approach to raise awareness, education, and support for American Indian cancer survivors.