Quality of life of African American cancer survivors

A Review of the Literature



African Americans are more likely to present with advanced stages of cancer at the time of diagnosis, and their survival rates continue to lag behind those of Caucasian survivors. Although the need to address the quality of life (QOL) of cancer survivors is well documented, little is known about the QOL of African American cancer survivors. A comprehensive literature search from 1990 to 2005 was conducted in 5 phases as outlined by Cooper. Inclusion criteria included the measurement of QOL as an outcome and the report and/or comparison of QOL for African Americans in the sample. The studies that met the criteria for inclusion focused on breast and prostate cancer. All were descriptive (quantitative or qualitative). Overall, the QOL of African American cancer survivors described in this research is poorer than for Caucasians, although in 1 study African American breast cancer survivors reported better emotional adjustment, sexual functioning, and lower symptom distress. Nonetheless, because of the limited and conflicting research as well as inconsistent measurements and methodologies, it is not possible to adequately describe the QOL of African American cancer survivors. Research is needed that uses consistent, culturally appropriate measures, theoretical frameworks, and definitions across studies. Cancer 2007. © 2006 American Cancer Society.