Cultural perceptions in cancer care among African-American and Caucasian patients

Robin K. Matsuyama, Christina Grange, Laurie J. Lyckholm, Shawn O. Utsey, Thomas J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: This exploratory study examined perceptions and beliefs of African Americans and Caucasians related to cancer care. Understanding belief systems and cultures optimizes cancer treatment and care delivery to ethnic minority individuals. Patients and Methods: Focus groups were conducted with 39 African-American and Caucasian cancer patients. Data analysis included whole group analysis with a team of five researchers. Results: Regardless of ethnicity, cancer patients share many of the same emotions and experiences, and want complete information and quality care. Differences were also apparent. African-American participants were more likely to report increased religious behaviors, believe that healthcare providers demonstrate care with simple actions and provision of practical assistance, and use church and community information sources. Caucasian participants were more likely to report spiritual but not overtly religious changes, and depend on healthcare providers for information. Conclusion: Understanding how culture colors perceptions, communication and information requirements is critical to providing effective care to ethnically diverse cancer patients. Findings have implications for professionals understanding ways patients seek information, the role of spirituality and religion in care, and ways healthcare providers demonstrate care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1118
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Cancer
  • Culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural perceptions in cancer care among African-American and Caucasian patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this