Perceptions of preparedness, timing of cancer diagnosis, and objective emergency preparedness among gynecological cancer patients in Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria

Meghan Johnson, Humberto Parada, Karen Ferran, Ramona Perez, William Calo, Istoni da Luz, Liz Martínez Ocasio, Pablo A. Mendez-Lazaro, Sandra I. Garcia, Guillermo Tortolero-Luna, Sharee A. Umpierre, Ana Patricia Ortiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study investigated the impact of cancer diagnosis status, individual feelings of preparedness, and other covariates on objective emergency preparedness among women diagnosed with gynecological cancers before or after the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. Methods: This study included 240 women who were interviewed by telephone from 9/2019–11/2020. Objective emergency preparedness was assessed using a list of six items. Subjective emergency preparedness was assessed by asking the women how prepared they felt (well, somewhat, or not at all) to face an emergency. Crude and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the associations (odds ratios [ORs] and 95% confidence intervals [CIs]) between variables of interest and objective preparedness. Results: Before and after the hurricanes, 60% and 66% of women, respectively, were objectively prepared. Before the hurricanes, women reporting feeling well-prepared (vs. not prepared) (OR=9.31, 95%CI:3.96–21.91) and those who were diagnosed before (vs. after) the hurricanes (OR=1.71, 95%CI:0.95–3.09) were more likely to be objectively prepared. After the hurricanes, self-perceived well-preparedness (OR=2.46, 95% CI: 1.10–5.51) was positively associated with emergency preparedness when compared to feeling unprepared. Conclusions: Perceptions of emergency preparedness and having a cancer diagnosis increased the likelihood of being objectively prepared for an emergency. Policy summary: This study demonstrates the need for state, territorial, and federal governments to include emergency preparedness plans for cancer patients in the Comprehensive Cancer Control plans. The study also indicates a need for cancer specific emergency preparedness information to be readily available for patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100415
JournalJournal of Cancer Policy
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Health Policy

Cite this