Embracing cultural diversity in cancer care

cultural diversity in cancer care

Chaired by Kevin Babb of American Cancer Society, this session brought unique and diverse cultural insights related to cancer care.

Cultural perspectives of people of Samoa, Marshall Island, Malaysia, and multiethnic groups in Victoria, Australia were presented.

Malama Tafuna of National University of Samoa started out by voicing that Samoan people view cancer as the “a Mal’ Palagi or the European illness” since cancer was not recognised prior to European coming to the Samoan islands. Meanwhile, Neal Palafox from the University of Hawaii described that in the Marshall Islands, the United States tested their nuclear weapons in 1946-1958 and the radiation might be associated with at least 24 types of cancer and potentially destroy the islands and their culture. On the other hand, exploration of the Malay muslim breast cancer survivors lived experience revealed that they highly value learning from social networks, hence the significance of support groups, according to Mariana Mohammad Yusoof of the Kanwork Cancer Society Malaysia. Sharon Lee of the National Cancer Society Malaysia presented how they developed a patient information system rooted on the patients’ insights. Furthermore, Katherine Lane of Cancer Council Australia emphasised that support must be provided in the patients’ native language.

Understanding cultural beliefs and values of the people that we serve is necessary, and so is engaging them in tailoring the intervention.

Article contributed by Ariesta Milanti