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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013 Sep;46(3):376-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.08.015. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Decisional control preferences of Hispanic patients with advanced cancer from the United States and Latin America.

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  • 1Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



Understanding cancer patients' preferences in decisional roles is important in providing quality care and ensuring patient satisfaction. There is a lack of evidence on decisional control preferences (DCPs) of Hispanic Americans, the fastest growing population in the U.S.


The primary aims of this study were to describe DCPs of Hispanics with advanced cancer in the U.S. (HUSs) and compare the frequency of passive DCPs in this population with that of Hispanics with advanced cancer in Latin America (HLAs).


We conducted a prospective survey of patients with advanced cancer referred to outpatient palliative care clinics in the U.S., Chile, Argentina, and Guatemala. Information was collected on sociodemographic variables, Karnofsky Performance Scale scores, acculturation (Marin Acculturation Assessment Tool), and DCP (Control Preference Scale). Chi-square tests were used to determine the differences in DCPs between HUSs and HLAs.


A total of 387 patients were surveyed: 91 in the U.S., 100 in Chile, 94 in Guatemala, and 99 in Argentina. The median age of HUSs was 56 years, 59% were female, and the median Karnofsky Performance Scale score was 60; the corresponding values for HLAs were 60 years, 60%, and 80. HLAs used passive DCP strategies significantly more frequently than HUSs did with regard to the involvement of the family (24% vs. 10%; P=0.009) or the physician (35% vs. 16%; P<0.001), even after age and education were controlled for. Eighty-three percent of HUSs and 82% of HLAs preferred family involvement in decision making (P=non-significant). No significant differences were found in DCPs between poorly and highly acculturated HUSs (P=0.91).


HUSs had more active DCPs than HLAs did. Among HUSs, acculturation did not seem to play a role in DCP determination. Our findings confirm the importance of family participation for both HUSs and HLAs. However, HUSs were less likely to want family members to make decisions on their behalf.

Copyright © 2013 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Decision-making preferences; Hispanic cancer patients; acculturation; cancer; palliative care

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