Researchers found that some caregivers face racism and discrimination as they care for loved ones with cancer.
African American/Black (AAB) caregivers are faced with barriers as they work to provide care for their loved ones with cancer, researchers from the American Cancer Society and Asher Consulting have determined.
Focus group sessions with a total of 32 AAB caregivers found that respondents’ primary unmet needs were related to their relationships with their loved ones’ healthcare providers, according to data reported in a poster session during the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Symposium.
“Pervasive systemic bias in the healthcare system and a lack of understanding of culture means African American/Black caregivers can face additional barriers to providing care,” researchers stated in the poster.
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Major themes identified by researchers included racism and discrimination, negative perceptions of the healthcare system, insensitivity of healthcare providers, distrust in healthcare providers and lack of access to medication due to costs.
“Caregivers highlighted the desire for timely information from the provider about the cancer diagnosis to better assist with treatment decisions,” researchers wrote in an abstract published alongside the poster on ASCO’s website. “Early navigator involvement was also requested to assist them in advocating for the patient’s needs as well as their own.”
Regarding participant demographics, 90% were female, 64% were at least 55 years old, 54% were employed full time and 42% were specifically caring for their mother with cancer, while 26% each were caring for a father or a sister.
“Caregivers are a critical part of the healthcare team. Providers should strive to deliver culturally competent care that acknowledges and respects the experiences, values, and beliefs of AAB caregivers,” researchers wrote in the abstract accompanying the poster.
The American Cancer Society then used the themes that emerged from this study in order to develop topics for a six-episode video series which was released from June through November on its website.
The series’ goal, the American Cancer Society stated on its website, is “to educate members of the cancer care team on the unique needs of African American/Black caregivers,” with stated learning objectives including “defining and demonstrating knowledge of health equity, health inequalities and social determinants of health in the context of cancer caregiving” as well as “mobilizing leaders in healthcare to engage in policy, systems and environmental change activities in support of health equity and caregiving” and leveraging local, state-wide and cross-state partnerships and collaborations “to advance health equity and caregiving.”
More recent reporting from CURE® on issues faced by caregivers of loved ones with cancer:
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