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Initiation of breast cancer treatment varies by race; patient-doctor communication is key
Date:5/7/2013

tified themselves as religious and single were three times more likely than white women (27 percent versus 8.3 percent) to delay treatment for more than 90 days.

"Unmarried women might not have the support at home and may need more time to plan for a rigorous treatment schedule," Sheppard explains. "Women of faith might delay treatment as they seek guidance through prayer or from the religious community."

Conversely, the study also showed that white women who reported more communication with their doctor were more likely to forgo treatment.

"Black women may have preferred to rely on providers while whites may have preferred to make decisions with less input from providers," the researchers suggest. They cite other studies that have found that even when black breast cancer patients asked their doctors more questions than whites, they received less information.

Sheppard suggests, "If black women in this study relied more on their physicians in making decisions than whites, when they received their desired level of communication, their decisions may have been positively impacted."

Sheppard said one reassuring finding was that, of all women who qualified for chemotherapy, those with clinical factors indicating a greater benefit from treatment were more likely to choose to receive therapy.

The researchers say additional studies can help understand communication preferences, but until that point they conclude that doctor-patient communications "offer a good leverage point for interventions to improve chemotherapy patterns in black women and ultimately, to reduce race disparities in breast cancer mortality."


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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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