Needs and experiences of Samoan breast cancer survivors in Southern California

Hawaii Med J. 2011 Nov;70(11 Suppl 2):35-9.


Objective: Breast cancer rates are increasing among Samoan and other Pacific Islander women, yet studies of their social support needs are nearly non-existent. The purpose of this paper is to report on the cultural dimensions of social support among Samoan breast cancer survivors in Southern California.

Methods: Data for this paper came from a larger one-and-a-half year study of the social support needs of Samoan breast cancer survivors and their family and friends. In-depth, retrospective, qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 20 Samoan survivors who were recruited from an existing social support program as well as the general community.

Results: We documented important informational needs and behaviors, social support needs and experiences, and spirituality issues for the Samoan breast cancer survivors.

Conclusions: Our findings underscore the need for culturally-specific social support services for Samoans, as well as the necessity of community-based participatory research to define and explore social support and other survivorship needs in this understudied population. Recommendations from the community report-back, stressed the importance of expanding community Samoan cancer social support groups through collaborations with Samoan leaders and churches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Samoa / ethnology
  • Social Support*
  • Spirituality
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*