Overcoming Barriers: LBBC Translates Metastatic Breast Cancer Guide into Five Languages

March 27, 2017

Receiving a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis is challenging for anyone, but when English isn’t your primary language, it’s that much more difficult to understand your treatment options and communicate with your medical team. 

To address this need, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) has translated its Metastatic Breast Cancer Series: Guide for the Newly Diagnosed into the five most-often-spoken languages in the United States after English: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and French. 

Ada Osoy, from South Pasadena, CA, did not have access to this kind of guide when was she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  “I love this guide,” Osoy said. “It is very informative. It's very detailed, and all the information is right on the mark. I like that there's advice on what to do at appointment visits. A lot of times, because of the language barrier, the patient feels intimidated and so she puts all the trust in the doctors and doesn't feel comfortable asking questions. This guide will help educate that the patient does have control over his/her treatment,” she said.

Jointly created by Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Metastatic Breast Cancer Series: Guide for the Newly Diagnosed explains stage IV breast cancer, describes current and experimental treatment options and their side effects, discusses the role of clinical trials, and offers complementary therapies to relieve stress and anxiety.

Translating this guide into Spanish is greatly important for Latinas, who often have a hard time finding linguistically and culturally relevant educational resources.

“Translating this guide into Spanish is greatly important for Latinas, who often have a hard time finding linguistically and culturally relevant educational resources,” said oncology nurse Evelyn Robles Rodriguez, RN, MSN, APN, AOCN, Director, Outreach, Prevention and Survivorship at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, NJ . “Now, Latinas with metastatic breast cancer have an opportunity to educate themselves about this disease without needing translation from family members or friends. This means that they can learn at their own pace, in their own time and in a language with which they are comfortable.”

“LBBC is conducting a robust outreach program to make sure people with metastatic breast cancer and those who care for them have access to these guides in print and online,” said Jean Sachs, MSS, MLSP, CEO of Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  “We are marketing this free guide to individuals, healthcare providers and nonprofit organizations that serve women and men with this diagnosis.  LBBC followed a deliberate process in the translations to ensure that the materials are culturally accurate as well as medically accurate.”

Metastatic breast cancer or stage IV breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread from the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver or brain. There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and those diagnosed with it will actively deal with cancer for the rest of their lives. An estimated 150,000 people are living with MBC in the United States, and some 40,450 people will die of the disease in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.

In November 2015, Arin Ahlum Hanson, LBBC’s Associate Director of Outreach and Partnerships, attended the International Consensus Conference for Advanced Breast Cancer in Lisbon where metastatic breast cancer patient advocates from the United States and across the world discussed the lack of patient-friendly publications in languages other than English.  Returning to the United States, LBBC discovered that other breast cancer organizations were similarly troubled by the lack of translated materials.  Knowing about LBBC’s Guide for the Newly Diagnosed in its Metastatic Breast Cancer series, Lilly Oncology offered a special sponsorship to LBBC to translate the guide into five of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in the United States. 

The Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Tagalog versions are available to order online or download online.  The French translation will be available later this year 2017. Printed copies may be ordered online or by calling (855) 807-6386. 

Additional resources are available in Spanish at es.lbbc.org

The distribution of the translated Guides for the Newly Diagnosed is made possible by a sponsorship from AbbVie.

More In Metastatic