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CJON Writing Mentorship Article
NCPD Article

Patients With Limited English Proficiency: A Challenge for Oncology Nursing Providers

Carl L. Trube

Theresa P. Yeo

limited English proficiency, language barriers, cancer care disparities
CJON 2023, 27(2), 147-153. DOI: 10.1188/23.CJON.147-153

Background: Limited English proficiency (LEP) is a limited ability to read, write, speak, and understand English. About 145,000 individuals with LEP will be diagnosed with a new cancer annually, and English remains the dominant language spoken in the U.S. medical system.

Objectives: The goal of this article is to discuss the issues faced by patients with LEP and cancer who are unable to communicate effectively with oncology providers.

Methods: This overview used published U.S. government statistics, information from consensus and policy organizations, and clinical studies published between 2017 and 2022.

Findings: Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on immigration status. People with LEP experience delayed cancer diagnoses and often receive inadequate treatment. Patients with LEP often have limited understanding of the medical system and do not receive language-concordant information about their cancer and treatment options.

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