Deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing (DDBHH) individuals experience barriers to accessing cancer screening, including ineffective patient-physician communication when discussing screening recommendations. For other underserved communities, culturally and linguistically aligned community health navigators (CHNs) have been shown to improve cancer screening and care. A needs assessment study was conducted to identify barriers and gather recommendations for CHN training resources. A community-based participatory needs assessment was conducted from May 2022 to June 2022 using three focus groups. Eight were cancer survivors, six advocates/navigators, and three clinicians. All questions were semi-structured and covered screening barriers, observations or personal experiences, perceived usefulness of having a CHN to promote cancer screening adherence, and training resources that may be useful to American Sign Language (ASL)–proficient CHNs, who are also culturally and linguistically aligned. Out of 20 focus group participants, seven self-identified as persons of color. Data highlighted systemic, attitudinal, communication, and personal-level barriers as recurrent themes. The most frequently cited barrier was access to training that supports the role and competencies of CHNs, followed by cultural considerations, access to cancer guidelines in ASL, dialect diversity in sign language, and the health system itself. Unaddressed barriers can contribute to health disparities, such as lower preventive cancer screening rates amongst DDBHH individuals. The next step is to translate recommendations into actionable tasks for DDBHH CHN training programs. As a result, CHNs will be well-equipped to help DDBHH individuals navigate and overcome their unique barriers to cancer screening and healthcare access.

  • Author(s):
    Bergeron, E., Valdez, R., Moreland, C.J. et al.
  • Published:
    27 February 2024
  • Journal:
    J Canc Educ (2024)
  • DOI:
  • View Article