Effect of cultural, folk, and religious beliefs and practices on delays in diagnosis of ovarian cancer in African American women

Patricia G. Moorman, Nadine J. Barrett, Frances Wang, J. Anthony Alberg, Elisa V. Bandera, J. B. Barnholtz-Sloan, Melissa Bondy, Michele L. Cote, Ellen Funkhouser, Linda E. Kelemen, Lauren C. Peres, Edwards S. Peters, A. G. Schwartz, Paul D. Terry, Sydnee Crankshaw, Sarah E. Abbott, Joellen M. Schildkraut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Certain cultural, folk, and religious beliefs that are more common among African Americans (AAs) have been associated with later-stage breast cancer. It is unknown if these beliefs are similarly associated with delays in diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Methods: Data from a multicenter case-control study of ovarian cancer in AA women were used to examine associations between cultural/folk beliefs and religious practices and stage at diagnosis and symptom duration before diagnosis. Associations between cultural/folk beliefs or religious practices and stage at diagnosis were assessed with logistic regression analyses, and associations with symptom duration with linear regression analyses. Results: Agreement with several of the cultural/folk belief statements was high (e.g., 40% agreed that "if a person prays about cancer, God will heal it without medical treatments"), and ∼90% of women expressed moderate to high levels of religiosity/spirituality. Higher levels of religiosity/spirituality were associated with a twofold increase in the odds of stage III-IV ovarian cancer, whereas agreement with the cultural/folk belief statements was not associated with stage. Symptom duration before diagnosis was not consistently associated with cultural/folk beliefs or religiosity/spirituality. Conclusions: Women who reported stronger religious beliefs or practices had increased odds of higher stage ovarian cancer. Inaccurate cultural/folk beliefs about cancer treament were not associated with stage; however, these beliefs were highly prevalent in our population and could impact patient treatment decisions. Our findings suggest opportunities for health education interventions, especially working with churches, and improved doctor-patient communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-451
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • cultural beliefs
  • folk beliefs
  • ovarian cancer
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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