Study: Blacks More Willing To Break The Bank For Life-Saving Treatments

senior man smiling(BlackDoctor.org) — Blacks and other minorities with cancer are more likely than whites to say they would spend everything they have on aggressive treatments that might prolong their lives, a study found.

Researchers don’t know why this is so and didn’t ask, but some think it may reflect differences in beliefs about miracles, distrust of doctors among minorities, and a misunderstanding of just how ugly and painful end-of-life care can be.

About 80 percent of blacks said they were willing to use up all their money to extend their lives, compared with 72 percent of Asians, 69 percent of Hispanics and 54 percent of whites.

“It is interesting just how far minority patients, particularly black patients, are willing to go to extend their life,” said Ellen McCarthy, a Harvard University researcher who has studied racial disparities in cancer care but was not involved in the new study.

The findings, published online Tuesday by the journal Cancer, were based on telephone surveys of more than 4,100 people newly diagnosed with lung and colon cancer. About 17 percent of the colon cancer patients and 31 percent of the lung cancer patients were in the most advanced stages of their disease.