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Researcher Investigates Disparities in Doctor-Patient Information Exchange During Clinical Trial Offers
Date:11/29/2007

ATLANTA, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recent research from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI, suggests black cancer patients are less likely than white cancer patients to bring a companion with them to physician appointments, leading to possible racial disparities in informed decision-making about cancer treatment and participation in clinical trials.

This research further examines cancer patient question-asking and the role of companions during physician visits. In the past, it has been shown that patients who bring a companion with them to physician visits receive more information than those who don't.

Susan Eggly, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and member of the Communication and Behavioral Oncology program at Karmanos, presented the findings at the American Association for Cancer Research's The Science of Cancer Health Disparities conference this week in Atlanta, GA.

Nationally, clinical trials accrue disproportionately low rates of minority patients. Dr. Eggly and researchers at Karmanos believe the low rate of accrual may partially be influenced by physician-patient communication during the clinical interactions in which trials are offered.

The study showed that black and white patients both asked more questions during visits to the doctor that included an offer of a clinical trial than visits that included only standard treatment options. However, in both types of visits, black patients asked fewer questions and less frequently had a companion present to assist them in asking questions. Because increased questioning has been associated with positive patient outcomes, these findings may reveal some causes of racial health disparities, especially with regard to how much information patients get about treatment and other options for care.

"Our program is particularly interested in the way patients and companions ask questions because question-asking is associated wi
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SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
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