Black Cancer Patients More Willing to Pay to Extend Life

Minority patients more willing than whites to expend their financial resources to prolong life

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Black cancer patients are more willing to expend their personal financial resources in order to extend life compared to white cancer patients, according to a study published online April 26 in Cancer.

Michelle Martin, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues investigated the willingness of cancer patients of different ethnicities to use personal financial resources to extend their lives. Participants from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance observational studies who had newly diagnosed colorectal or lung cancer (4,214 patients) were interviewed regarding different aspects of their care, including their willingness to expend their personal financial resources to extend their life. The correlation between race/ethnicity and the desire for life-extending treatment was assessed, after controlling for clinical, sociodemographic, and psychosocial factors.

The investigators found that 80 percent of blacks were willing to spend all resources to extend life, compared to 54 percent of whites, 69 percent of Hispanics, and 72 percent of Asians. Compared to whites, blacks were significantly more likely to choose to spend all financial resources to prolong life (odds ratio, 2.41) after adjusting for confounding variables.

"Minority patients were more likely to report a willingness to deplete financial resources to have life-extending treatment. Hispanic and Asian patients willingness to spend financial resources in pursuit of longer life expectancy was intermediate between those expressed by blacks and by whites," the authors write.

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