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Blacks more willing to exhaust financial resources for more cancer care
Date:4/25/2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. People in minority groups, especially black Americans, are more willing than their white counterparts to exhaust their personal financial resources to prolong life after being diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study published April 26, 2011, online in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.

This revelation should inform the treatment plans and help physicians design state-of-the-art cancer care that reflects patient wishes, says lead author Michelle Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and a scientist with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"As new cancer-treatment options emerge, patients are asked to make complex decisions that often involve tradeoffs between quality and quantity of life," Martin says. "A key tenet of delivering high-quality, patient-centered care is understanding and respecting patients' treatment decisions. Our results highlight the fact that personal finances can influence the decisions patients make about their treatment."

Martin and her colleagues compared the willingness of 4,214 participants in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) study a multi-center observational study of patients with newly diagnosed lung or colorectal cancer to use their personal financial resources to extend their lives.

Among other questions, patients were asked, "If you had to make a choice now, would you prefer treatment that extends life as much as possible, even if it means using all of your financial resources, or would you want treatment that costs you less, even if it means not living as long?"

The researchers found that 80 percent of blacks were willing to spend all of their personal finances to extend life, while 54 percent of whites, 69 percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of Asians were willing to do so.

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Contact: Jennifer Lollar
jpark@uab.edu
205-934-3888
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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