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Sinag Tala (Bright Star): Filipina Breast Cancer Support Group Outreach

Pilot Abstract

Breast cancer among Filipina American women represents a major but largely neglected cancer disparity. First, though not as highly visible as other Asian subgroups, the Filipino population in the US is large, second among Asians only to the Chinese. Second, Filipinas have higher rates of breast cancer incidence than most other Asian subgroups. Third, resources for and data regarding Filipina women with breast cancer are almost non-existent. In 2004, West Bay Filipino Multi-Service Center (West Bay) joined forces with the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCSF-CCC) and the San Francisco General (SFGH) Breast Care Program to start the first Filipina breast cancer support group (Sinag Tala) in San Francisco. However, group attendance is uneven and the little research available on Filipino Americans suggests that a "one size fits all" approach to outreach would not be effective in this highly relational (collectivist-oriented) culture. The proposed study will elucidate the meanings of survivorship and breast cancer support in this community, and inform how to design more culturally appropriate outreach building upon existing community resources social networks) for the women who need them most. We will utilize multiple qualitative methods because each taps different types of data (participant observation, individual ethnographic interviews, and small group interviews) to achieve our specific aims to 1) identify beliefs and values associated with breast cancer, survivorship, and support; and 2) create and pre-test culturally resonant outreach themes and channels based on core cultural values and existing community resources. The conceptual framework is drawn from theories of quality of life, social capital, and relational culture. The product of this study will be new, culturally appropriate outreach themes and outreach communication channels designed to encourage Filipina breast cancer patients and survivors to take part in support groups. Just as access to and participation in adequate and meaningful social support has been shown to improve the quality of life of White breast cancer patients, developing meaningful outreach themes and channels to link Filipina breast cancer survivors to support services is likely to improve the quality of life of Filipina breast cancer survivors and to address survivorship disparities in this community. Formative research into culturally relevant outreach for support services has implications across the stages of survivorship

Updated: 07/23/09