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Peer discussions of cancer among Hispanic migrant farm workers.

Lantz PM; Dupuis L; Reding D; Krauska M; Lappe K
Public Health Rep 1994 Jul; 109(4):512-520
Focus group discussions were conducted among Hispanic migrant workers to identify perceptions about the etiology and treatment of cancer and to determine cultural and socioeconomic barriers to cancer prevention in this population. Discussions among 33 men and 22 women indicated that many agreed that smoking was a major cause of cancer. Participants also believed that injuries, bruises, neglect of wounds and other health problems could lead to cancer. Cancer was considered fatal by the participants who also believed that there was little they could do to improve their chances of survival once diagnosed. Another common belief held by a number of participants was that cancer spreads throughout the body and that treatment involves amputating diseased body parts as the cancer progresses, resulting in disfigurement and pain. When asked about their knowledge of the health effects of pesticides, many of the participants were aware that pesticides cause health problems. However, most workers felt powerless to minimize their exposure to pesticides since they also believed that requests for protective gear from their employers would endanger their employment. Based on these preliminary findings, the authors identified several cultural, socioeconomic, and educational barriers to cancer control within the Hispanic migrant worker population. These barriers included a lack of knowledge about cancer prevention, screening tests and symptoms; a low literacy rate; embarrassment and shame associated with physical examinations among female workers; absence of preventive health care initiatives; language barriers; the cost of health services and screening; time constraints of long work days; and lack of transportation to clinics.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Agricultural-workers; Education; Cancer-rates; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Personal-protection; Employee-health; Health-surveys; Health-care-facilities
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Public Health Reports
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division