AACR: Minority Female Cancer Survivors Have Less Support

But white, nonwhite survivors engage in beneficial physical activity
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- White female cancer survivors have more social support than nonwhites, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, held from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 in Miami. The study also examined racial differences in participation in physical activity, a known beneficial factor in cancer survivorship outcomes.

Jennifer M. Jabson, Ph.D., and Deborah J. Bowen, Ph.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health, reviewed data from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, which included 577 randomly recruited female cancer survivors, of which 75 were ethnic minority cancer survivors. The purpose of the study was to assess the racial and ethnic differences in female cancer survivors' physical activity and social support.

The researchers found that, as a group, 87 percent of the sample reported receiving social support from a friend or family member; when broken down by race, 99 percent of whites and 86 percent of nonwhites reported having a friend or family member to talk to about their health. When asked about physical activity, 78 percent of whites reported engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity in a typical week, and 75 percent of nonwhite cancer survivors reported doing so.

"This is an important finding when designing and promoting social support resources for female cancer survivors to better include cancer survivors of color. This might be useful when interventionists and community support groups are conducting outreach as they may want to focus special attention on learning the support needs and desires of cancer survivors who are also women of color in their communities," Jabson said in a statement.

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