Gendered and Cultured Relations: Exploring African Nova Scotians’ Perceptions and Experiences of Breast and Prostate Cancer
Although breast and prostate cancer are those most frequently diagnosed in Canada, information about the ways in which gender, class, race, culture, and other social determinants impact the experience of African Canadians living with cancer is lacking. This study began to address this gap by exploring cultured and gendered dimensions of African Nova Scotians’ experiences of these two cancers. Using a participatory action research approach, data were collected in two phases of focus group discussions in five African Nova Scotian communities from a total of 57 people, including those with breast or prostate cancer and their families and associates. Findings provide insight into how gender and meanings of masculinity and femininity in the African Nova Scotian community unavoidably interact with other social structures such as race and class to affect women and men’s perceptions and experiences of these two cancers. These insights point to the need for culturally appropriate and meaningful health interventions. As a prerequisite, health care professionals need to have an understanding of the overlapping and contextualized nature of gender, class, and race and be willing and able to work in partnership with African Nova Scotian communities to identify and develop strategies that reflect the realities of peoples’ lives.