Cancer Support and Resource Needs Among African American Older Adults

Older African Americans face substantial barriers to state-of-the-art cancer care. Implementing culturally appropriate support throughout cancer therapy is critical to improving cancer outcomes and quality of life for this vulnerable population. The purpose of this study was to obtain experiential data regarding cancer diagnosis and treatment, and analyze survivors’ recommendations regarding treatment-related needs, psychosocial support, and strategies and resources. Four main issues emerged from the study: (a) the need for more health-related and cancer-specific education, (b) the importance of faith and spirituality, (c) the availability of support, and (d) participants’ difficulty identifying and articulating financial needs. Few participants reported requesting or receiving assistance (financial or otherwise) outside of the family during their cancer experience. However, treatment-related medication costs posed a significant hardship for many.