Is religiosity responsible for delayed ovarian cancer diagnosis among African American women? Yes, researchers have found that these women who had reported higher levels of religiosity had increased odds of stage III-IV ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Agreement with cultural/folk belief statements related to cancer was not associated with cancer stage at diagnosis. The full study findings are described in an article published in the Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article free on the Journal of Women's Health website until January 5, 2019.
In the article, entitled "Effect of Cultural, Folk, and Religious Beliefs and Practices on Delays in Diagnosis in Ovarian Cancer in African American Women," the researchers examined whether specific cultural/folk beliefs, religious practices, and perceived spirituality were associated with delays in diagnosis of ovarian cancer as indicated by later cancer stage at diagnosis or longer symptom duration before diagnosis. Cultural/folk beliefs and religiosity/spirituality were not associated consistently with symptom duration before diagnosis.
"Although cultural/folk beliefs related to cancer were not associated with cancer stage in this study, Dr. Moorman and colleagues found that these beliefs were prevalent among the women and may have influenced their decisions to seek treatment for cancer," states Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA. "Increasing awareness among physicians about cultural and folk beliefs related to cancer, improving patient-provider communication about these beliefs, and involving churches in health education interventions may lead to better outcomes."