Racial differences in the impact of financial hardship on the intensity of end-of-life cancer care.

Health Services Research
Session Type and Session Title: 
Clinical Science Symposium, Optimizing Delivery of High-Quality Cancer Care
Abstract Number: 


J Clin Oncol 30, 2012 (suppl; abstr 6012)
Reginald D Tucker-Seeley, Gregory Alan Abel, Holly Gwen Prigerson; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Abstracts that were granted an exception in accordance with ASCO's Conflict of Interest Policy are designated with a caret symbol (^).

Abstract Disclosures


Background: Research suggests that Black cancer patients have higher end-of-life (EOL) medical costs than White patients; and that Black, compared with White, families are more likely to use all or most of their savings to pay for EOL care. Although Black cancer patients receive more intense EOL care than Whites, research has yet to determine the effect of financial hardship on receipt of intensive EOL care, and whether the effect varies by the patient’s race. Methods: Coping with Cancer (CwC) is a longitudinal, multi-site cohort study of advanced cancer patients and their informal caregivers recruited from September 2002-February 2008. CwC was designed to investigate Black/White differences in EOL care. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the association between baseline financial hardship and receipt of intensive EOL care in the last week of life (CwC deceased cohort N=342), and to identify racial differences in this association. Financial hardship was defined as whether the household had to use all or most of their savings due to the family member’s illness (response =yes/no). Intensive EOL care was defined as the receipt of ventilation or resuscitation in the last week of life assessed by medical record review and patient’s caregiver. Results: Patients reporting financial hardship had higher odds of receiving intensive EOL care (OR = 2.83, CI: 1.33, 6.05). After adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics the significant association remained (OR = 2.55, CI: 1.13, 5.81). Race-stratified fully adjusted models revealed no statistically significant association between financial hardship and intensive EOL care for Whites; however, for Blacks, those reporting financial hardship had over five times higher odds of receiving intensive EOL care (OR = 5.21, CI: 1.51, 17.99) compared to those not reporting financial hardship. Conclusions: Financial hardship was associated with greater likelihood of receiving intensive EOL care. The intensity of EOL care received by White patients was insensitive to financial hardship; in contrast Black patients reporting depletion of life savings for cancer care were much more likely to die receiving intensive EOL care than their non-financially strained counterparts.