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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Sep 1;26(25):4131-7. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.14.8452.

Racial and ethnic differences in advance care planning among patients with cancer: impact of terminal illness acknowledgment, religiousness, and treatment preferences.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 1309 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446, USA. asmith7@bidmc.harvard.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Despite well-documented racial and ethnic differences in advance care planning (ACP), we know little about why these differences exist. This study tested proposed mediators of racial/ethnic differences in ACP.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

We studied 312 non-Hispanic white, 83 non-Hispanic black, and 73 Hispanic patients with advanced cancer in the Coping with Cancer study, a federally funded multisite prospective cohort study designed to examine racial/ethnic disparities in ACP and end-of-life care. We assessed the impact of terminal illness acknowledgment, religiousness, and treatment preferences on racial/ethnic differences in ACP.

RESULTS:

Compared with white patients, black and Hispanic patients were less likely to have an ACP (white patients, 80%; black patients, 47%; Hispanic patients, 47%) and more likely to want life-prolonging care even if he or she had only a few days left to live (white patients, 14%; black patients, 45%; Hispanic patients, 34%) and to consider religion very important (white patients, 44%; black patients, 88%; Hispanic patients, 73%; all P < .001, comparison of black or Hispanic patients with white patients). Hispanic patients were less likely and black patients marginally less likely to acknowledge their terminally ill status (white patients, 39% v Hispanic patients, 11%; P < .001; white v black patients, 27%; P = .05). Racial/ethnic differences in ACP persisted after adjustment for clinical and demographic factors, terminal illness acknowledgment, religiousness, and treatment preferences (has ACP, black v white patients, adjusted relative risk, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.49 to 0.83]; Hispanic v white patients, 0.65 [95% CI, 0.47 to 0.89]).

CONCLUSION:

Although black and Hispanic patients are less likely to consider themselves terminally ill and more likely to want intensive treatment, these factors did not explain observed disparities in ACP.

PMID:
18757326
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2654372
Free PMC Article
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