Unmet Information Needs Among Hispanic Women with Thyroid Cancer

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jun 16;106(7):e2680-e2687. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab128.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Literacy
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • SEER Program
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Young Adult