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Tailoring Cancer Education and Support Programs for Low-Income, Primarily African American Cancer Survivors

Michelle Y. Martin
Lori A. Pollack
Mary B. Evans
Judith Lee Smith
Polly Kratt
Heather Prayor-Patterson
Christopher D. Watson
Mark Dignan
Lydia C. Cheney
Maria Pisu
Amandiy Liwo
Sandral Hullett
ONF 2011, 38(1), E55-E59 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E55-E59

Purpose/Objectives: To identify the information and stress-management topics of most interest to low-income, predominantly African American cancer survivors.

Research Approach: Descriptive, cross sectional.

Setting: Outpatient oncology clinic in a public hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.

Participants: 25 patients with cancer; 12 were men, 22 were African Americans, and 16 had a 12th-grade education or less.

Methodologic Approach: Patients ranked potential topics to be included in an educational curriculum.

Main Research Variables: Quantitative rankings of information and stress-management priorities.

Findings: Learning about cancer, understanding cancer treatments, relieving cancer pain, and keeping well in mind and body were the most highly ranked topics among those offered within the American Cancer Society's I Can Cope curriculum, which also included supportive topics such as mobilizing social support. The preferred stress-management topics were humor therapy, music therapy, meditation, and relaxation; lower-ranked topics included pet therapy and art as therapy.

Conclusions: Cancer survivors appear most interested in topics specific to their illness and treatment versus supportive topics. Stress management also received high rankings.

Interpretation: Nurses have a key role in providing patient education and support. Tailoring education programs may better target specific needs and improve the quality of cancer care of underserved patients.

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