Culture and Medical Diseases

Because of their poor prognosis and historically limited effectiveness of treatment, the diagnosis of certain medical diseases still carries substantial stigma or misunderstanding despite advances in medical knowledge and management. The following are some examples of diseases that are still associated with strong negative views or misconceptions as a result of cultural beliefs and that intensely influence patients’ emotional lives as well as their illness or behavior.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Coronary Heart Disease Cervical Cancer Epileptic Patient Medical Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agyepong IA (1992) Malaria: Ethnomedical perceptions and practice in an Adangbe farming community and implications for control. Social Science and Medicine 35:131–137PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ali NS, Khalil HZ, Yousef W (1993) A comparison of American and Egyptian cancer patients’ attitudes and unmet needs. Cancer Nursing 16(3):193–203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bacaner N, Stauffer B, Boulware DR, Walker PF, Keystone JS (2004) Travel medicine considerations for North American immigrants visiting friends and relatives. JAMA 291:2856–64PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boggiled AK, Correia JD, Keystone JS, Kain KC (2004) Leprosy in Toronto: An analysis of 184 imported cases. Canadian Medical Association Journal 170:55–59Google Scholar
  5. Burns R, Nichols LO, Graney MJ, Martindale-Adams J Lummus A (2006) Cognitive abilities of Alzheimer’s patients: Perceptions of Black and White caregivers. Int J Aging Hum Dev 62:209–19PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Car J, Partridge MR (2004) Crosscultural communication in those with airway diseases. Chronic Respiratory Diseases 1:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2006) Racial/ethnic disparities in diagnoses of HIV/AIDS–33 states, 2001–2004. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Report 55(5):121–125Google Scholar
  8. Chaturvedi SK, Singh G, Gupta N (2005) Stigma experience in skin disorders: An Indian perspective. Dermatology Clinics, 23(4):635–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Choi-Kwon S, Park KA, Lee HJ, Park MS, Lee CH, Cheon SE, Youn MH, Lee SK, Chung CK (2004) Familiarity with, knowledge of, and attitudes toward epilepsy in residents of Seoul, South Korea. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 110(1):39–45PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark PC, Kutner NG, Goldstein FC, Peterson-Hazen S, Garner V, Zhang R, Bowles T (2005) Impediments to timely diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans. J Am Geriatr Soc 53:2012–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collinge J, Whitfield J, McKintosh E, Beck J, Mead S, Thomas DJ, Alpers MP (2006) Kuru in the 21st century–an acquired human prion disease with very long incubation periods. Lancet 367(9528):2068–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cossrow N, Falkner B (2004) Race/ethnic issues in obesity and obesity-related comorbidities. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 89:2590–4PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diez Roux AV, Detrano R, Jackson S, Jacobs DR, Schreiner PJ, Shea S, Szklo, M (2005) Acculturation and socioeconomic position as predictors of coronary calcification in a multiethnic sample. Circulation 112:1557–65PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Haley WE, Gitlin LN, Wisniewski SR, Mahoney DF, Coon DW, Winter L, Corcoran M, Schinfeld S Ory M (2004) Well-being, appraisal, and coping in African-American and Caucasian dementia caregivers: findings from the REACH study. Aging Ment Health 8:316–29PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heijnders ML (2004) The dynamics of stigma in leprosy. International Journal of Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases 72:437–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hesketha T (2007) HIV/AIDS in China: the numbers problem. Lancet 369(9562):621–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hinton L, Guo Z, Hillygus J Levkoff S (2000) Working with culture: a qualitative analysis of barriers to the recruitment of Chinese-American family caregivers for dementia research. Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology 15:119–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ismail H, Wright J, Rhodes P, Small N (2005) Religious beliefs about causes and treatment of epilepsy. British Journal of General Practice 55(510):26–31PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kim S, Moon S, Popkin BM (2000) The nutrition transition in South Korea. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 71:44–53PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kosberg JI, Kaufman AV, Burgio LD, Leeper JD, Sun F (2007) Family caregiving to those with dementia in rural Alabama: Racial similarities and differences. J Aging Health 19:3–21PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kuthy RA, McQuistan MR, Riniker KJ, Heller KE, Qian F (2005) Students’ comfort level in treating vulnerable populations and future willingness to treat: Results prior to extramural participation. Journal of Dental Education 69(12):1307–1314PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Lancaster KJ, Watts SO Dixon LB (2006) Dietary intake and risk of coronary heart disease differ among ethnic subgroups of black Americans. Journal of Nutrition 136:446–51PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Marmot MG, Syme SL (1976) Acculturation and coronary heart disease in Japanese Americans. American Journal of Epidemiology 104:225–247PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Marmot MG, Syme SL, Kagan A, Kato H, Cohen JB, Belsky J (1975) Epidemiological studies of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living in Japan, Hawaii and California: Prevalence of coronary and hypertensive heart disease and associated risk factor. American Journal of Epidemiology 102:514–525PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Morgan M, Figueroa-Munoz JI (2005) Barriers to uptake and adherence with malaria prophylaxis by the African community in London, England: Focus group study. Ethnicity and Health 10:355–72PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nubukpo P, Preux PM, Clement JP, Houinato D, Tuillas M, Aubreton C, Radji A, Grunitzky EK, Avode G, Tapie P (2003) Comparison of sociocultural attitudes towards epilepsy in Limousin (France), in Togo and in Benin (Africa). Medicine Tropicale (Marseilles) 63(2):143–50Google Scholar
  27. Okpaku S (2006) Culture and Obesity: World’s New Trend and Problems. The Proceeding of the First World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry S-II-20Google Scholar
  28. Poindexter CC (2005) Working with HIV-affected culturally diverse families. In: Congress EP, Gonzalerz MJ (eds) Multicultural perspectives in working with families. Springer, New York pp 311–338Google Scholar
  29. Raphael KG, Kunzel C, Sadowsky D (1996) Difference between Asian-American and white American dentist students in attitudes toward treatment of HIV-positive patients. AIDS Education and Prevention 8(2):155–164PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Remennick L (2006) The challenge of early breast cancer detection among immigrant and minority women in multicultural societies. The Breast Journal 12 (Suppl 1): S103–S110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sekikawa A, Ueshima H, Kadowaki T, El-Saed A, Okamura T, Takamiya T, Kashiwagi A, Edmundowicz D, Murata K, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Maegawa H, Evans RW, Kita Y, Kuller LH (2007) Less subclinical atherosclerosis in Japanese men in Japan than in White men in the United States in the post-World War II birth cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology 165:617–24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sich D (1979) Naeng: Geggegnung mit einer volkskrankheit in der modernen frauen aerztlichen sprech-stunde in Korea (Encounter with a folk illness during modern gynecolgocal consultations in Korea). Curare: Zeitschrift fur Ethnomedizin und Trans-kulturelle Psychiatrie 2:87–96 (Reviewed in Transcultual Psychiatric Research Review, 18:45–46 [1981] by Tobler AB)Google Scholar
  33. Skegg DCG, Corwin PA, Pau C Doll R (1982) Importance of the male factor in cancer of the cervix. Lancet 2:581–583PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stroud CE (1963) Nutritional problem in the immigrant population in London. Proceeding of the Nutrition Society 22:153–158Google Scholar
  35. Williams IC (2005) Emotional health of black and white dementia caregivers: a contextual examination. The Journals of Gerontology (Series B) Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 60:287–295Google Scholar
  36. Wyatt SB, Winters KP, Dubbert PM (2006) Overweight and obesity: prevalence, consequences, and causes of a growing public health problem. American Journal of Medical Science 331:166–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Personalised recommendations