Factors Affecting Quality of Life for Korean American Cancer Survivors: An Integrative Review

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Problem Identification:

Understanding of Korean American cancer survivors’ quality of life (QOL) within a cultural context is limited. This article examines factors associated with the QOL of Korean American cancer survivors.

Literature Search:

A systematic literature search was conducted of PubMed, CINAHL®, Google Scholar, and EBSCO databases from January 2000 to January 2014.

Data Evaluation:

The studies were assessed for the relevance to the purpose of the review. Each study was rated on a two-point scale using an 11-item quality criteria checklist.


The 13 studies that met the criteria for inclusion included 7 descriptive, 5 qualitative, and 1 mixed-method.


Social support, communication, and acculturation were key factors associated with Korean Americans’ QOL. Cultural differences were evident for Korean Americans versus other Asian American ethnic groups.

Implications for Practice:

More innovative and culturally driven research is needed to understand each minority group's cultural barriers, as well as to improve cancer survivors’ QOL. Improving the doctor-patient relationship is critical to promoting better cancer experiences for Korean American cancer survivors.

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