A new study suggests that the low rate of cancer screenings among Hispanic women may be due to a fatalistic attitude among Latinas that cancer is not preventable and a diagnosis will almost surely lead to death.
The researchers found that Hispanic women often forgo life-saving cancer screening services out of this belief, which they are much more likely to hold as a group than white women.
Researchers Karla Espinosa de los Monteros and Linda Gallo from San Diego State University, concluded a strong statistical link to back up this theory after reviewing 11 studies that examined the association between Hispanic women’s fatalism and their screening rates for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer.
The women in the studies were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “cancer is like a death sentence,” and “there is little that I can do to prevent cancer,” etc.
“Improving our understanding of the importance of fatalism in explaining underutilization of cancer screening services among Latinas may drive the development of more effective and culturally appropriate interventions to reduce ethnic disparities in cancer,” said the authors.
The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine is scheduled to publish the study in their online edition.