Ethnic Minority Patients May Receive Inferior End-of-Life Care
According to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (http://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.2016.70.2894), African American and Hispanic patients with ovarian cancer who lived in Texas were more likely to receive invasive or toxic treatment and be admitted to intensive care in their final month of life than their Caucasian counterparts.
The researchers analyzed data from the Texas Cancer Registry and Medicare for 3,666 patients with ovarian cancer who died between 2000 and 2012. A total of 77% of the patients were Caucasian, 15% were Hispanic, and 7% were African American. Of these, 72% had been enrolled in hospice but only 64% were still enrolled when they died.
In their final days of life, 381 had more than one emergency department visit, 505 had more than one hospital admission, 593 were admitted to intensive care, 848 received invasive care, and 418 had life-extending care. A total of 357 patients received chemotherapy during their final two weeks of life. The researchers found that race and ethnicity correlated more strongly with outcomes than income, education, or geography.