Exploration Of The Cultural Beliefs In Mexican American Young Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors And Their Decisions To Engage In Cancer Screening Behaviors
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Gaps in the literature exist exploring the cultural beliefs and the cancer screening practices in Mexican American (MA) young adult childhood cancer survivors (YACCS). Lack of representation of MA in past survivor research is one reason for the gaps in knowledge about the beliefs in MA survivors, and the current study is the beginning of the examination of the cultural beliefs in MA YACCS and how these beliefs influence their decisions about cancer screening. Kleinman's (1978) cultural explanatory model (CEM) approach served as the conceptual framework in which this study was conducted. Survivors were recruited from the investigators institution where survivors receive their follow-up and who met the criteria for participation including being ages 18-39 years, MA, and who are at least 2 years from completion of cancer treatment. Eleven survivors of cancer participated in individual interviews to explore their cultural beliefs like familism, faith, fatalism, modesty and gender roles and their decisions to engage in cancer screening behaviors. The means age of the survivors was 22 years and most had at least a high school education. All of the survivors were treated in the center where they receive follow up care. The cultural beliefs of familism, and faith in God were prevalent in survivors. Family and faith provided the necessary support for survivors during their cancer treatment. Traditional gender roles and modesty were not observed in this group of MA YACCS. Survivors indicated they took responsibility for their health and participate in cancer screening behaviors. Survivors were not fatalistic but had positive expectations for their future. Their family was important, and faith helped them to cope with whatever their future holds. Emergent themes were the illness (cancer), impact of cancer (response to cancer) and cultural stereotyping. Illness for this group of survivors was having had cancer, and the impact of having had cancer had a lasting impression on their lives. Future research is planned to further explore cultural beliefs in a larger sample of MA YACCS to test the CEM identified in this group of survivors, and the participation in cancer screening behaviors.