OCAPICA Gets Grant to Study Cancer Incidence in Vietnamese-American Women
The Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, a group that has studied the incidence of cervical cancer in Vietnamese-American women, has obtained a $4 million grant from the CDC and the California Endowment to study obstacles preventing this group of women from getting tested, the Orange County Register reports. National studies have shown that Vietnamese-American women are five times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to get cervical cancer. A recent Orange County study conducted by OCAPICA, however, focused on why Vietnamese-American women are not getting tested in time to detect the disease. The survey results, slated to be presented at a luncheon today, found that lack of knowledge, lack of time and cultural stigmas all keep Vietnamese-American women from getting Pap smears. While 83% of the 30 women in the study had received a Pap smear, the test was a part of prenatal care, not cancer prevention. OCAPICA will use the four-year, $4 million grant to further examine why Vietnamese-American women have a higher incidence of cancer and what obstacles prevent them from being tested. The grant funds will be used to establish community advisory committees, translate informational pamphlets and raise awareness of the necessity of breast and cervical cancer screening, OCAPICA Executive Director Mary Anne Foo said (Hong, Orange County Register, 12/20).
The high rate of cervical cancer among Vietnamese-American women has also attracted the attention of a local oncologist who educates the Vietnamese-American community about the dangers of cancer over the radio. When Dr. Bichlien Nguyen began practicing in Orange County four years ago, she found that there was "little awareness or outreach in the Vietnamese community" about cancer. Two and a half years ago, Nguyen began a radio show on Radio Saigon Abroad aimed at raising awareness and promoting discussion of cancer in the Vietnamese-American community. Nguyen found that "cultural taboos" kept individuals from openly discussing the subject. Some people believed cancer was a "punishment from God," and many did not know it could be detected early, she said. Nguyen said her show serves as a "loose-knit cancer support group, something that's lacking for Vietnamese women and men" (Hong, Orange County Register, 12/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.