Minority races–especially Blacks–are more willing than Whites to expend personal financial resources to prolong life after being diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer, even if it means using up all of their personal financial resources. That is the conclusion of a new study published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. Delivering quality cancer care that is in accordance with patients’ wishes requires a better understanding of the reasons for these differences in preference.
The researchers found that 80 percent of Blacks reported a willingness to spend all resources to extend life, versus 54 percent of Whites, 69 percent of Hispanics, and 72 percent of Asians. After accounting for a host of factors including income, disease stage, quality of life, patients’ age, patients’ perceived time left to live, and other medical illnesses, Blacks were 2.41 times more likely to opt for expending all personal financial resources to extend life than Whites. The preferences of Hispanic and Asian patients were intermediate between White and Black patients. Determining the reasons for these differences in preference requires further study.
Several other factors were associated with a willingness to expend resources to prolong life: younger age, a lower number of individuals that they financially supported, divorced/separated marital status, a belief that life expectancy is in God’s hands, and a higher level of social support.