Context: Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer in Hispanic women.
Objective: To determine the relationship between acculturation level and unmet information needs among Hispanic women with thyroid cancer.
Design: Population-based survey study.
Participants: Hispanic women from Los Angeles Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registry with thyroid cancer diagnosed in 2014-2015 who had previously completed our thyroid cancer survey in 2017-2018 (N = 273; 80% response rate).
Main outcome measures: Patients were asked about 3 outcome measures of unmet information needs: (1) internet access, (2) thyroid cancer information resources used, and (3) ability to access information. Acculturation was assessed with the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH). Health literacy was measured with a validated single-item question.
Results: Participants' median age at diagnosis was 47 years (range 20-79) and 48.7% were low-acculturated. Hispanic women were more likely to report the ability to access information "all of the time" if they preferred thyroid cancer information in mostly English compared to mostly Spanish (88.5% vs 37.0%, P < 0.001). Low-acculturated (vs high-acculturated) Hispanic women were more likely to have low health literacy (47.2% vs 5.0%, P < 0.001) and report use of in-person support groups (42.0% vs 23.1%, P = 0.006). Depending on their level of acculturation, Hispanic women accessed the internet differently (P < 0.001) such that low-acculturated women were more likely to report use of only a smartphone (34.0% vs 14.3%) or no internet access (26.2% vs 1.4%).
Conclusions: Low-acculturated (vs high-acculturated) Hispanic women with thyroid cancer have greater unmet information needs, emphasizing the importance of patient-focused approaches to providing medical information.
Keywords: Hispanic women; health literacy; information needs; information seeking behavior; thyroid cancer.
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