Cancer Care

Pakistani and Indian immigrant women in the U.S. are at higher risk for breast cancer compared to their counterparts in India and Pakistan and immigrant men are at higher risk for prostate cancer. The Pakistani immigrant population in the United States also experiences rising rates of lung and colon cancer, mirroring U.S. patterns.

The change in patterns of cancer is believe to be due to immigrants embracing the Western lifestyle of marrying later, having fewer children, getting less exercise and adopting a diet lower in fiber and higher in fat, alcohol and meat.
Also Pakistani Immigrants experience a better survival rate from cancer compared to the non-Hispanic white U.S. population.

Decision-Making and Disclosure

If the patient prefers not to know about his/her medical condition, this preference should be respected. Autonomy is the right to choose, so patients have the right to choose to remain ignorant about their diagnosis. If the elder has cancer, treatment options can be discussed with him or her, but it is recommended that the word “cancer” not be used.

Also it is believed that the physician is the authority in matters relating to disease and medical interventions. She or he is often symbolically inducted into the family and is expected to direct rather than just facilitate medical management.