Scientists examine intersectionality in cancer care

Wiley

Intersectionality posits that social categorizations and personal identities are interconnected in a way that creates a unique nuanced lived experience for individuals rather than an additive experience. For example the experience of a queer Black woman living in a rural area is not the sum of being queer, Black, and in a rural location, as these identities are not mutually exclusive.

An analysis published in Psycho-Oncology examines published research on intersectionality relative to disparities in cancer care.

The analysis included 28 studies and found that the intersection of sexual minority status with race/ethnicity was association with lower diagnostic screening, lower receipt of preventative services, and an increase in distrust of the healthcare system.

The results uncover the various ways in which patients with intersectional identities may be at higher risk for negative cancer outcomes.

“The findings in this study serve to highlight how care providers need to shift from the traditional unidimensional understanding of patients to a more holistic perspective using an ‘intersectional’ lens that accommodates a more multidimensional, complex, and nuanced understanding of patients and how they self-identify,” said senior author Timothy M. Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD, of The Ohio State University. “A greater openness and understanding of patient identity—and the intersection of various identities—is needed to effectively address inequities in cancer care and scholarship.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pon.5890

About Journal

Psycho-Oncology is concerned with the psychological, social, behavioral, and ethical aspects of cancer. This subspeciality addresses the two major psychological dimensions of cancer: the psychological responses of patients to cancer at all stages of the disease, and that of their families and caretakers; and the psychological, behavioral and social factors that may influence the disease process. Psycho-oncology is an area of multi-disciplinary interest and has boundaries with the major specialities in oncology: the clinical disciplines (surgery, medicine, pediatrics, radiotherapy), epidemiology, immunology, endocrinology, biology, pathology, bioethics, palliative care, rehabilitation medicine, clinical trials research and decision making, as well as psychiatry and psychology.

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