Utilisation of psychosocial and informational services in immigrant and non-immigrant German cancer survivors

Psychooncology. 2015 Aug;24(8):919-25. doi: 10.1002/pon.3742. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


Objective: We examined psychosocial and informational services used by long-term survivors of breast, colon and prostate cancer in immigrants versus non-immigrants.

Methods: Patients were sampled from population-based cancer registries in Germany. They completed a questionnaire assessing immigration biography, service use and socio-demographic characteristics.

Results: Data of 6143 cancer survivors were collected of whom 383 (6%) were immigrants. There was no evidence of an association between immigration status and service use. However, immigration biography played a role when patients' and their parents' birthplace were taken into account. When parents were born outside Europe, survivors less frequently used information from the Internet (ORadj 0.4, 95% CI 0.2; 0.8). Web-based information (ORadj 0.7, 95% CI 0.5; 0.9) was less frequently used when the participant was born outside Germany.

Conclusion: The differences in the use of psychosocial and informational services between immigrants and non-immigrants seem to be generally small. Acculturation may play a role in service uptake. In survey-based health services research, investigators should not stratify by census-defined immigration status, but rather by cultural background.

Keywords: cancer; ethnicity; healthcare use; immigration; oncology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Services Misuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Information Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors* / psychology