Effect of Cultural, Folk, and Religious Beliefs and Practices on Delays in Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer in African American Women.
BACKGROUND: Certain cultural, folk, and religious beliefs that are more common among African Americans (AAs) have been associated with later-stage breast cancer. It is unknown if these beliefs are similarly associated with delays in diagnosis of ovarian cancer. METHODS: Data from a multicenter case-control study of ovarian cancer in AA women were used to examine associations between cultural/folk beliefs and religious practices and stage at diagnosis and symptom duration before diagnosis. Associations between cultural/folk beliefs or religious practices and stage at diagnosis were assessed with logistic regression analyses, and associations with symptom duration with linear regression analyses. RESULTS: Agreement with several of the cultural/folk belief statements was high (e.g., 40% agreed that "if a person prays about cancer, God will heal it without medical treatments"), and ∼90% of women expressed moderate to high levels of religiosity/spirituality. Higher levels of religiosity/spirituality were associated with a twofold increase in the odds of stage III-IV ovarian cancer, whereas agreement with the cultural/folk belief statements was not associated with stage. Symptom duration before diagnosis was not consistently associated with cultural/folk beliefs or religiosity/spirituality. CONCLUSIONS: Women who reported stronger religious beliefs or practices had increased odds of higher stage ovarian cancer. Inaccurate cultural/folk beliefs about cancer treament were not associated with stage; however, these beliefs were highly prevalent in our population and could impact patient treatment decisions. Our findings suggest opportunities for health education interventions, especially working with churches, and improved doctor-patient communication.
Moorman, PG; Barrett, NJ; Wang, F; Alberg, JA; Bandera, EV; Barnholtz-Sloan, JB; Bondy, M; Cote, ML; Funkhouser, E; Kelemen, LE; Peres, LC; Peters, ES; Schwartz, AG; Terry, PD; Crankshaw, S; Abbott, SE; Schildkraut, JM
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