Healthcare barriers and supports for American Indian women with cancer


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Although American Indian (AI) women continue to experience cancer at higher rates and have not seen the same decline in cancer prevalence as the general U.S. population, little research examines how interactions with health care providers may influence and exacerbate these health disparities. The purpose of the study was to understand the experiences of AI women who receive cancer treatment, which is integral for eradication of AI cancer disparities among women. A qualitative descriptive methodology was used with a sample of 43 AI women with breast, cervical, colon, and other types of cancer from the Northern Plains region of South Dakota. Interviews were conducted from June 2014 to February 2015. Qualitative content analysis revealed that women experienced: (a) health concerns being ignored or overlooked; (b) lack of consistent and qualified providers; (c) inadequate healthcare infrastructure; (d) sub-optimal patient–healthcare provider relationships;(e) positive experiences with healthcare providers; and (f) pressure and misinformation about treatment. Results indicate the types of support AI women may need when accessing health-care. Culturally informed trainings for healthcare professionals may be needed to provide high-quality and sensitive care for AI women who have cancer, and to support those providers already providing proper care.

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