Cancer experiences and health-related quality of life among racial and ethnic minority survivors of young adult cancer: a mixed methods study

Alexis R. Munoz*, Karen Kaiser, Betina Yanez, David Victorson, Sofia F. Garcia, Mallory A. Snyder, John M. Salsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Young adult (YA) racial and ethnic minority survivors of cancer (diagnosed ages 18–39) experience significant disparities in health outcomes and survivorship compared to non-minorities of the same age. However, little is known about the survivorship experiences of this population. The purpose of this study is to explore the cancer experiences and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among YA racial/ethnic minorities in an urban US city. Methods: Racial and ethnic minority YA cancer survivors (0 to 5 years posttreatment) were recruited from a comprehensive cancer center using a purposive sampling approach. Participants (n = 31) completed semi-structured interviews, the FACT-G (physical, emotional, social well-being) and the FACIT-Sp (spiritual well-being). Mixed methods data were evaluated using thematic analysis and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Results: The majority of survivors were women (65 %), single (52 %), and Hispanic (42 %). Across interviews, the most common themes were the following: “changes in perspective,” “emotional impacts,” “received support,” and “no psychosocial changes.” Other themes varied by racial/ethnic subgroups, including “treatment effects” (Hispanics), “behavior changes” (Blacks), and “appreciation for life” (Asians). ANCOVAs (controlling for gender and ECOG performance status scores) revealed that race/ethnicity had a significant main effect on emotional (P = 0.05), but not physical, social, or spiritual HRQOL (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that minority YA cancer survivors report complex positive and negative experiences. In spite of poor health outcomes, survivors report experiencing growth and positive change due to cancer. Variations in experiences and HRQOL highlight the importance of assessing cultural background to tailor survivorship care among YA racial and ethnic minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4861-4870
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Cancer
  • Disparity
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Minority
  • Survivorship
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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