Immigrant may need more than a translation

Monday, August 23, 2010

MADISON, Wis., Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Some immigrants in the United States may need more than translations to grasp what is involved in cancer treatment, researchers found.

Tracy Schroepfer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said cancer educators may find it difficult to explain cancer detection and prevention to people who may not even have a word for cancer.

This was the case in the Hmong population -- members of a hill tribe in Laos that emigrated to the United States after the Vietnam war and number about 60,000 in Wisconsin today.

"Medical interventions fail if the intervention does not match the community's level of readiness to address the issue," Schroepfer said in a statement. "Hmong community members need to be the educators. They understand the belief system and can talk to people about it, reframe the experience of cancer."

The three-year study of the Hmong population in Wisconsin, published in Journal of Cancer Education, relied on community leaders to set the agenda.

"They own the data, and I have to obtain permission to use it," Schroepfer said. "It's a very different way to do research, and it takes a long time because the researcher must be committed to spending the time to build a relationship with community partners."


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