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Saturday, November 26, 2022

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Fatal Mistake

SDSU research aims to reduce ethnic disparities in cancer screening.

Fatalism may prevent women of Latin American descent from using cancer screening services, according to a study by SDSU psychologists.

Their research, published in Springer’s International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, shows that women who are pessimistic about preventive health practices and disease outcomes are less likely to have been screened for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer.

“Latinas have some of the lowest cancer screening rates in the country,” said Karla Espinosa de los Monteros, a doctoral student who conducted the research with professor Linda Gallo. “They are also more likely to believe that death is inevitable after diagnosis.”

In several studies, women were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with statements such as:

• Cancer is like a death sentence
• Cancer is God’s punishment
• There is little that I can do to prevent cancer

The researchers found that seven of the 11 studies they reviewed reported a statistically significant inverse association between fatalism and the use of cancer screening services, suggesting that fatalism may be a barrier to cancer screening.

Espinosa and Gallo said they hope that an understanding of the link between fatalism and underutilization of cancer screening services among Latinas will drive the development of more effective and culturally appropriate interventions to reduce ethnic disparities in cancer screening.