Purpose/objectives: to identify the information and stress-management topics of most interest to low-income, predominantly African American cancer survivors.
Research approach: descriptive, cross sectional.
Setting: outpatient oncology clinic in a public hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Participants: 25 patients with cancer; 12 were men, 22 were African Americans, and 16 had a 12th-grade education or less.
Methodologic approach: patients ranked potential topics to be included in an educational curriculum.
Main research variables: quantitative rankings of information and stress-management priorities.
Findings: learning about cancer, understanding cancer treatments, relieving cancer pain, and keeping well in mind and body were the most highly ranked topics among those offered within the American Cancer Society's I Can Cope curriculum, which also included supportive topics such as mobilizing social support. The preferred stress-management topics were humor therapy, music therapy, meditation, and relaxation; lower-ranked topics included pet therapy and art as therapy.
Conclusions: cancer survivors appear most interested in topics specific to their illness and treatment versus supportive topics. Stress management also received high rankings.
Interpretation: nurses have a key role in providing patient education and support. Tailoring education programs may better target specific needs and improve the quality of cancer care of underserved patients.