DOI: 10.1177/26323524231193038 ISSN:

Latino advanced cancer patients’ prognostic awareness and familial cultural influences on advance care planning engagement: a qualitative study

Normarie Torres Blasco, Lianel Rosario, Megan J. Shen
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


Advanced cancer patients need an accurate understanding of their prognoses in order to engage in informed end-of-life care treatment decision-making. Latino cancer patients experience disparities around prognostic understanding, in part due to a lack of culturally competent communication around prognosis and advance care planning (ACP).


The objective of the present study of Latino patients with advanced, terminally ill cancer is to examine their understanding of prognosis, and how cultural factors may influence this understanding and engagement in ACP.


A mixed methods study was conducted, which consisted of surveys and semi-structured interviews. Descriptive statistics were used for sociodemographic information and self-reported prognostic understanding. Interviews around prognostic understanding and cultural influences on this understanding and engagement in ACP were recorded, transcribed, and then coded and analyzed using thematic content analysis.


Latino patients with advanced cancer ( n = 20) completed a self-reported survey and participated in a semi-structured interview. Results indicate that among terminally ill patients, 50% of the patients inaccurately believed they had early-stage cancer, 85% did not believe their cancer was terminal, and 70% believed their cancer was curable. Moreover, interviews yielded two main themes: varying levels of awareness of the incurability of their cancer and diverse end-of-life care decision-making and treatment preferences based on prognostic understanding. Within these themes, patients expressed denial or acceptance of their prognosis through communication with the oncologist, the importance of family, and incorporating their pre-existing beliefs.


Findings indicate the importance of communication, family involvement, and incorporation of beliefs for promoting an accurate prognostic understanding among Latino patients. It is imperative to address disparities in Latino advanced cancer patients’ prognostic understanding so they can engage in informed treatment decision-making around end-of-life care.

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