Race disparities exist among women who receive social support after cancer treatment, according to data presented at the 2010 AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

Using data from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, a research team, led by Jennifer Jabson, MPH, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of community health sciences at Boston University, obtained information on 577 randomly recruited female cancer survivors, of which 75 were ethnic minority cancer survivors.

Researchers reported that 99% of white cancer survivors reported having a friend or family member as social support compared with 86% of nonwhite female cancer survivors.

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In addition, when researchers examined participants’ physical activity, they found that 78% of white female cancer survivors and 75% of nonwhite female cancer survivors reported some moderate-intensity physical activity. “A preponderance of literature has focused on the relative lack of physical activity among many groups, and knowing of the multiple benefits of physical activity, we were encouraged to find women reporting physical activity,” said Dr. Jabson.

According to Dr. Jabson, future research should examine the role of physical activity, social support, and other reinforcing factors that may influence nonwhite women to participate more or less than other cancer survivors.

“We need to continue our work to better understand the complexities of cancer survivorship for women of color in an effort to maximize on the opportunity for positive cancer survivorship,” Dr. Jabson concluded.