Cultural Sensitivity Is More Than Language Translation

Cultural Sensitivity Is More Than Language Translation

Bag It Cancer continually reviews the Bag to ensure it is as helpful as it can be for those living with cancer. This spring we conducted research through a series of interviews and focus groups of Latino and Hispanic survivors, caregivers and other stakeholders for input on how to better address their values, beliefs, language, and culture in the Spanish Bag.

We heard about a variety of topics that would be beneficial to include in the Spanish Bag, or address in a different way in the Bag.

Photo of Spanish Bag It bag contents

For example, to many people, cancer=death. If someone is diagnosed with cancer, the only possible outcome is death. We hope to dispel this commonly-held misconception and others by educating Bag users and families about the evidence-based facts about cancer. We gained more insight about the importance of family in the Latino and Hispanic communities. Family members often take part in the decision making about treatment. Their involvement in that process, and as caregivers, can have huge impacts on a patient’s wellbeing.

We also learned that if nutritional information in the Bag isn’t tailored to culturally relevant foods, patients and caregivers may not make necessary changes to their diet during and after treatment. We plan to include recipes from Latina kitchens that adapt favorite Latin dishes to make them healthier – lower in fat, richer in fiber and vitamins, but still tasty.

Latinos and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by poor conditions of daily life which are shaped by a variety of structural and social position factors (such as income, education, occupations, cultural values, and social support systems), known as social determinants of health. These factors impact their cancer care and survival. We can’t overcome all of these barriers, but we can do our small part by educating and guiding Latinos and Hispanics with a more culturally-tailored Bag It Bag.

We look forward to introducing the new bicultural Bag It Bag to you and your patients at the end of the year.

A Healthcare Provider’s Role in Patient Education

A Healthcare Provider’s Role in Patient Education

For many patients, except for a fellow cancer survivor, no one other than their healthcare provider understands how devastating a cancer diagnosis can be. When worry or smiles turn to fear, anger, or sadness, providers are there.

While some providers have long recognized the value of providing comprehensive patient education materials, others have missed the mark by giving little to none, placing the burden on patients to find their own resources or information. When implemented correctly, patient education goes beyond informing patients about their cancer and treatment. It can play a crucial role in helping patients cope better, learn how to become a self-advocate, and how to be engaged in their care.

At Bag It Cancer, we believe patient education is primarily the provider’s responsibility. Most Bag recipients receive their Bag It Bags directly from their providers, ensuring that they’re receiving the trusted information at the right time. So yes, please continue to give your patients the Bag It Bag if you are a current Bag distributor. If you are not, consider how offering this critical aspect of patient care benefits both patients and clinicians.

Studies show that patient education can help patients be more informed, more engaged in their care, better equipped to ask better questions, more compliant with treatment, and enjoy a better quality of life. Providers who directly provide quality education materials like the Bag It Bag can be confident that their patients are accessing reliable information rather than obtaining misinformation that could be dangerous.

Ideally, here is what a patient education session for a newly-diagnosed patient would look like:

A provider walks in with a Bag It Bag and opens it up to introduce it to the patient. The patient, having been informed of their diagnosis, opens My Companion Guidebook to section 1 (My Personal Details) to see that the provider has already written in the details of their current diagnosis. The provider shows them  copies of their recent scans and lab work which have already been added to the appropriate sections and discusses the results and next steps. The patient would also be directed to one of the booklets that the provider feels would be most helpful to them at that time. Now a difficult appointment where many patients often leave dazed and confused has become one where the patient leaves feeling cared for, prepared, empowered, and with a better sense of what to expect.

If you or your team are interested in seeing how Bag It can improve your oncology patient education services, please feel free to reach out at cj@bagitcancer.org or call 520-337-2800.

 

It’s Cancer Prevention Month

It’s Cancer Prevention Month

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We wish we could say that all cancer is preventable if you just follow these steps, but that is not the case. However, research has shown that more than 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed can be attributed to preventable causes. That is why February is dedicated to cancer prevention. 

Knowing the actions we need to take and actually taking them, does often require change in our lifestyle. Some of the actions we can take might feel a little easier such as not getting too much sun exposure, skipping the tanning bed, and making sure to have sun protection on when you are exposed. Some actions might feel more difficult like maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, making different food choices and exercising regularly. A clean bill of health will show you the effort is worth it.

 

 

Wellness Walk

These behavior changes are listed as the top contributing factors for cancer prevention:

  • Quit smoking: (this includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes) Tobacco use has been shown to increase the risk of developing 17 different types of cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese as an adult increases a person’s risk for 15 types of cancer. Talk to your doctor about what is a healthy weight for you.
  • Be physically active: Being physically active reduces risk for nine types of cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week. 
  • Limit alcohol intake: Order smaller portions and drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage.
  • Get regular screenings: American Cancer Society cancer screening guidelines by age.
  • Get available vaccines: The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can significantly decrease the risk of several cancers including cervical, throat, tongue, anal, and other genital cancers. The Hepatitis B vaccine decreases the risk for liver cancer.
  • Protect your skin from the sun: limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., make sure to wear sunscreen, clothing that covers your skin, and avoid tanning beds.
  • Know your family history: Early detection can be key in life saving treatment. Knowing your family history can help you and your doctor plan for regular screenings (which may be recommended earlier with a known family history).
  • Follow a healthy diet: AICR’s New American Plate, (⅔ whole grains, vegetables, fruit and beans, ⅓ protein), emphasizes foods that can reduce your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.
There are lots of programs that can help you with weight maintenance, quitting smoking and alcohol intake. Talk to your doctor for any recommendations they feel might help. AICR’s website offers healthy recipes that contain cancer fighting foods. 

If talking with your family about their health history feels difficult, practice with a friend first. Remind them that knowing their history can help you with early detection and prevention. If you do not have family available to ask about their history, talk to your doctor about genetic testing that may be available. 

If getting started with activity is a little overwhelming or you don’t know what you like to do, many exercise programs have classes available online. If you find something you enjoy, you are much more likely to engage in activity regularly. Try lots of options and remember to start where you are. 

In this month that focuses on LOVE, show yourself (and those who love you) some love by committing to lifestyle changes that will reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cancer. If you need a little extra support and accountability, you can take the pledge for AICR’s Click, Connect, and Commit campaign which offers a step-by-step guide to incorporate AICR’s 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations in your everyday routine. You will also find a calendar with small steps you can take every day in February to help work towards your long term prevention goals.

Join our Focus Group

Join our Focus Group

Help make the 2022 version of the Spanish Bag It bag even better! We are recruiting individuals touched by cancer to give input on the bag that best reflect Latino and Hispanic culture, values and belief!

Are you interested?  Click here to complete a short form.

 

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But Cancer Doesn’t Run in My Family! What you should know about genetic testing

But Cancer Doesn’t Run in My Family! What you should know about genetic testing

 

Many people are shocked by their cancer diagnosis when no one in their family has been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is caused by genetic changes (mutations or variants) in a person’s genes, chromosomes, or proteins, but that doesn’t generally mean it’s inherited from a parent. In fact, only about 5-10% of cancers are due to inherited cancer syndrome (germline mutation).

Whether you personally have cancer or not, genetic testing can be helpful for your situation. If you have a cancer that was caused by a mutation, genetic testing can provide important information about how to treat your cancer, as well as your risk for developing a second cancer. 

If you have not been diagnosed with cancer, genetic testing can estimate the likelihood of being diagnosed with certain types of cancer in your lifetime. The test can tell you if you have a higher risk than most people of developing those cancers, but not that you will definitely be diagnosed.

Most cancers are caused by acquired (somatic) variants which occur spontaneously during a person’s lifetime, often due to lifestyle and environmental factors. These variants are not passed on to the next generation. Sometimes, cancers can be common in a family but are not due to an inherited gene mutation.

If you do have a genetic mutation, you and your family members can take steps to manage your cancer risks and health care. Children of parents with an inherited cancer mutation have a 50 percent chance of having the mutation themselves.

Discuss your individual circumstances and family history of cancer with your doctor. Seek their advice on whether you should be referred for genetic testing, and which tests to have. Testing is a complex decision on multiple levels, with implications for your family as well. A genetic counselor is highly recommended before and after testing as interpreting the test results can also be complicated.

 

For more information about genetic testing, please visit these websites.
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