Factors Influencing Medical Information Seeking Among African American Cancer Patients

J Health Commun. May-Jun 2002;7(3):205-19. doi: 10.1080/10810730290088094.


Qualitative research methods were used to explore factors that may affect medical information seeking, treatment engagement, and emotional adjustment among African American cancer patients. Focus group findings suggest that an array of cultural and socioeconomic factors plays important roles in the behavior of African American cancer patients. Participants described a number of important barriers and facilitators of medical information seeking and treatment participation. Factors linked to the health care-related behaviors and adjustment of African American cancer patients included limited knowledge and misinformation about cancer, mistrust of the medical community, concerns about privacy, lack of insurance, religious beliefs, and emotional issues such as fear and stigma associated with seeking emotional support. Recommendations are made that may assist mental and physical health providers in improving patient information and mental and physical health outcomes of African American cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction / ethnology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • United States