Advertisement

Study Finds Significant Variation in Hispanic Patients’ Trust of Cancer Information Sources


Advertisement
Get Permission

A study by Camacho-Rivera et al published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention examining how increasing knowledge about cancer and cancer services among Hispanic adults may help in reducing inequities to care has found that there is significant variation by ethnicity and other sociodemographic variables in Hispanic patients’ level of trust regarding sources for cancer information. The study’s results suggest that information tailored to ethnic subgroups or specific age groups may be beneficial in reducing health-care disparities. Given the diversity of health disparities affecting the Hispanic population, this study has important implications for modifying cancer-related information and the methods by which it is disseminated among Hispanic patient subgroups.

In 2018, the United States Hispanic population reached a record 59.9 million, up by 1.2 million over the previous year. Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group in the United States, and are vulnerable to dying from cancer—cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics—as well as to experiencing cancer care inequalities.

Study Methodology

The researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey, a nationally representative sample of the noninstitutionalized adult population of the United States. The sample for this study came from respondents who self-identified as Hispanic or Latino (n = 1,521), with 46% of respondents reporting Mexican or Mexican American ethnicity; 16%, Cuban or Puerto Rican ethnicity; and 37%, a different Hispanic ethnic background.

The primary outcomes for this analysis were participants’ responses to nine questions, including “In general, how much would you trust information about cancer from: a doctor or other health-care professional; government health organizations; charitable organizations; religious organizations or leaders; friends and family; the Internet; television; radio; [and] newspapers or magazines?”

The researchers used multivariable logistic regression with survey weights to identify independent predictors of cancer information source use and trust.

Study Results

Of the 1,512 evaluable participants, trust in sources ranged from 27% for radio to 91% for doctors. In multivariable models, Cubans/Puerto Ricans were twice as likely to trust cancer information from print media compared with Mexican Americans. Hispanic patients aged 75 and older were nearly three times as likely to trust cancer information from religious organizations compared with those aged 18 to 34. Hispanic women were 59% more likely to trust cancer information from the Internet compared to men.

KEY POINTS

  • Among Hispanic patients, there is significant variation by ethnicity and other sociodemographic variables in their trust of cancer information sources.
  • Overall, respondents reported the highest level of trust in health-care professionals, with 91% saying they had a high level of trust in information they received from their physicians or other members of the medical team.
  • Older Hispanics were more likely than younger Hispanics to trust in health information from nonmedical sources, such as family, the Internet, and faith-based organizations.

One especially noteworthy finding in this study is that older Hispanic patients were more likely than younger Hispanic patients to trust in health information from nonmedical sources, such as family, the Internet, and faith-based organizations, possibly revealing a natural progression of trust networks with aging or a digital age gap.

Clinical Relevance

“Given the diversity of health disparities affecting the Hispanic population, this study has important implications for modifying cancer-related information and the methods by which it is shared to Hispanic subgroups. Understanding the sources of information that are most trusted by the populations most difficult to reach provides insight into potential targets for communication; leveraging sources of trust is critical to reaching the intended audience,” concluded the study authors.

“As a Latina, I would want fellow Hispanics to know that not all health information that is available may be credible and evidence-based,” said first study author Marlene Camacho-Rivera, MS, MPH, ScD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, in a statement.

“It is important to ask questions of health-care providers in order to make informed decisions and not just take all information at face value,” she continued. “While we have seen increases in health information-seeking due to increased access to the Internet, smartphones, and social media, we also recognize the potential for technology to exacerbate health disparities. It is not enough for us to simply put information out into the public domain and expect individuals to act on it. We must also support community spaces and resources that can help people benefit from the information.”

Dr. Camacho-Rivera is the corresponding author of this study.

Disclosure: Funding for this study was provided by SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit cebp.aacrjournals.org.

 

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
Advertisement

Advertisement



Advertisement