Differences in the Severity, Distress, Interference, and Frequency on Cancer-Related Symptoms Between Island Hispanic Puerto Ricans and Mainland Non-Hispanic Whites

Velda J. González-Mercado, Leorey N. Saligan, Ming Ji, Maureen Groer, Elsa Pedro, Susan McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The knowledge base of cancer-related symptoms is increasing; yet, limited attention has been given to provide evidence on differences in the perception of cancer symptoms between ethnic groups, especially in the Hispanic Puerto Rican (PR) population. To examine whether there are significant differences in the severity, distress, interference, and frequency of cancer symptoms between island Hispanic PR and mainland non-Hispanic whites. In this secondary data analysis, data from 109 Hispanic PR was matched by age, gender and cancer diagnosis with data from non-Hispanic whites. Cancer symptoms were assessed using the Cancer Symptom Scale (CSS). Mann–Whitney statistical test was used to evaluate pairwise differences between Hispanic PR and non-Hispanic whites on symptoms from the CSS. There were significant differences on some symptoms including PR reporting: (a) more intense itching, swelling, taste change, difficulty sleeping, bloating, depression, sadness, worry, and nervousness; (b) significantly greater distress about taste change, appetite, anxiety, depression, worry, and feeling nervous; (c) rash, anxiety, depression, sadness, and nervousness interfered the most with their daily lives; and, (d) that the frequency of occurrence of the symptoms of pain, itching, dizziness, taste change, anxiety, sadness, and nervousness was higher compared to non-Hispanic whites. PR cancer patients are at increased risk for experiencing greater severity of cancer symptoms compared to non-Hispanic whites. But because the Hispanic oncology population does not always report symptoms, risking under-assessment and under-management, this suggests there may be a greater need for symptoms surveillance for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1039
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • Cancer-related symptoms
  • Hispanic Puerto Ricans
  • Symptom assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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