MONDAY, Oct. 2, 2023 (HealthDay News) — There was a significant increase in palliative care use among metastatic breast cancer patients from 2004 to 2020, but use remains suboptimal, according to a study presented at the 16th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 in Orlando, Florida.
Jincong Freeman, M.P.H., from the University of Chicago, and colleagues examined trends in palliative care utilization, overall and across racial/ethnic groups, using data from 148,931 patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer (dnMBC) identified through the National Cancer Database (2004 to 2020).
The researchers found that overall, 20.7 percent of the patients used palliative care, with a significant increase from 14.9 percent in 2004 to 27.6 percent in 2020. However, utilization varied significantly by race/ethnicity: 21.4 percent among non-Hispanic (NH) White patients; 20.8 percent among NH American Indian, Alaska Native, or other patients; 20.0 percent among NH Black patients; 17.7 percent among NH Asian or Pacific Islander (API) patients; and 16.0 percent among Hispanic patients. Despite these differences, use of palliative care increased significantly during the study period across all racial/ethnic groups. Compared with NH White patients, NH Black (adjusted odds ratio, 0.87), API (adjusted odds ratio, 0.74), and Hispanic patients (adjusted odds ratio, 0.65) had lower odds of palliative care use.
“It is essential to identify the needs of these patients, particularly racial/ethnic minority populations, and evaluate how oncology programs can integrate palliative care early into the cancer care continuum while ensuring equitable access,” Freeman said in a statement.
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