An integrated view of cultural perceptions of cancer among Arab people in Israel

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The aim of this study was to review published studies on the cultural aspects of screening and care of Arab cancer patients living in Israel. The literature published from the beginning of recording, available up to December 2012, was systematically reviewed. Fifteen studies on perceptions of cancer screening and five studies on different aspects of coping with cancer were identified. Non-attendance of screening for early detection of breast or colorectal cancer was reported to be associated with higher personal barriers (the health belief model) and higher cultural and social barriers. Perceptions of cancer risk, causes, outcomes and personal responsibility were widespread from traditional to more modern biomedical views, and sometimes integrated. Among breast cancer patients, effects of a collective and family centred way of life and strong support by one's spouse were evident, followed by a change towards closer spousal relations. Religious coping strategies were the most prevalent among breast cancer patients and were related to better well-being. An integration of traditional and modern perceptions of cancer, attitudes towards screening and coping with cancer were evident. More research is needed in order to advance a culturally competent care of cancer patients and of interventions that encourage screening for the early detection of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-508
Number of pages19
JournalHealth Psychology Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Taylor & Francis.


  • Arab people
  • cancer patients
  • cancer screening coping
  • culture
  • health beliefs
  • perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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