Race, Ethnicity Likely Affects Emotional Well-Being of Cancer Patients, Study Finds
Black cancer patients report having poorer physical and social well-being than their white counterparts but better emotional well-being, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Reuters Health reports. Previous studies have indicated that blacks have poorer physical health than whites.
For the study, lead researcher Deepa Rao of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues examined how race or ethnicity might affect the social and emotional well-being of cancer patients. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General survey included responses from 502 black patients and 396 white patients in their mid-50s who had breast, colon, head/neck, lung cancer or AIDS-related malignancies. About 66% of the participants were women.
Black participants had worse responses to the statement, "I feel ill," but not as strong responses to the statements, "I worry that my condition will get worse" and "I am content with the quality of my life right now."
After taking into account possible contributing factors -- such as diagnosis, marital or insurance status, education and the patients' own reports on their performance status -- the researchers found that race is a significant predictor of physical, social, emotional and functional well-being.
The researchers suggested that further studies be conducted to examine the socioeconomic factors associated with findings and whether they are more common among vulnerable populations, such as people with low health literacy skills or language barriers (Hendry, Reuters Health, 12/2).
An abstract of the study is available online.