Compared to other racial and ethnic groups, low acculturated Latinas reported differences in treatment decision-making and communication experiences during breast cancer treatment, according to research published in Cancer.1

“Our study serves as another reminder that as doctors, we need to work harder to be accountable and relate to each patient’s unique situation,” Steven J. Katz, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and health management and policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in a press release.2

Dr Katz and colleagues sought to understand racial and ethnic differences in patient perspectives of their breast cancer treatment experience. The investigators surveyed 5080 women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer in Los Angeles County, California, and Georgia between 2013 and 2015.

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The pattern of visits with specialists prior to surgery and the percentage of patients reporting high satisfaction with their physicians working together were similar across all racial and ethnic groups. However, low acculturated Latinas reported high clinician communication quality with surgeons and oncologist less often (P < .05), had a low autonomy decision style more often (P < .001), and reported receiving “too much” information more often (P < .001).1

“On balance, the news is encouraging. While we see differences in how some patients comprehend the information we’re providing, we don’t see significant inequities in how we’re providing it. That’s something to build on,” Dr Katz concluded.


1. Katz SJ, Wallner LP, Abrahamse PH, et al. Treatment experiences of Latinas after diagnosis of breast cancer. Cancer. 2017. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1002/cncr.30702

2. Zalewski, S. How Doctors Can Bridge the Cultural Divide to Reach Latina Breast Cancer Patients [new release]. Michigan University Health Labs. Published April 11, 2017. Accessed April 27, 2017.