Purpose: Limited data are available regarding the psychosocial impact of cancer on families of culturally diverse backgrounds living in medically underserved communities. The unique psychosocial needs of families of children with cancer from an ethnically diverse inner-city population is the focus of this study. Methods: The prevalence of psychosocial needs among a multi-cultural, inner-city sample of children and adolescents with cancer and their parents was assessed using a modified version of the Psychosocial Needs Assessment Survey. All patients were recruited from the Children's Hospital at Montefiore located in Bronx, NY, a designated medically underserved community. Results: Seventy-eight percent of parents reported unmet informational needs. The three most commonly endorsed informational needs by parents and children were regarding dietary management of acute side effects, late effects of having cancer and secondary cancer prevention. Less educated parents reported greater unmet supportive, practical, and spiritual needs than those with more education. Fathers had greater informational and practical needs than mothers and younger parents had more practical needs than older parents. Endorsement of spiritual needs was lower for both children and parents compared with supportive, informational, or practical needs. Conclusions: Given the high prevalence of reported unmet informational needs, efforts should be made to provide patients and families with education tailored to their informational needs and level of education. This population may benefit from psychoeducational interventions, including community-based informational and peer support groups. Such interventions may augment efforts to lessen health gaps experienced in this population.
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