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Blacks Facing Cancer More Likely than Whites to Drain Resources to Extend Life

by Marni Jameson ,  Orlando Sentinel | 2011-04-26

When faced with life-threatening cancer, minority patients may be more likely to drain their bank accounts to extend life than whites, according to a study published online today in Cancer.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted phone interviews with 4,214 patients participating in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance study. All were newly diagnosed with lung or colon cancer. Researchers asked patients how willing they were to trade personal financial resources for life-prolonging cancer treatment, or would they rather receive treatment that would cost them less but not allow them to live as long.

They found that 80 percent of blacks were willing to exhaust all resources to extend life, compared to 72 percent of Asians, 69 percent of Hispanics and 54 percent of whites. The biggest difference was between whites and blacks: Blacks were 2.4 times more likely than whites to exhaust personal finances to live longer.

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