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Accuracy of Advanced Cancer Patients' Life Expectancy Estimates: The Role of Race and Source of Life Expectancy Information

TitleAccuracy of Advanced Cancer Patients' Life Expectancy Estimates: The Role of Race and Source of Life Expectancy Information
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsTrevino KM, Zhang B, Shen MJ, Prigerson HG
JournalCancer
Date Published2016 Mar 29
ISSN1097-0142
KeywordsAdvanced Cancer, Life Expectancy, Racial Disparities
Abstract

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to examine the source of advanced cancer patients' information about their prognosis and determine whether this source of information could explain racial disparities in the accuracy of patients' life expectancy estimates (LEEs).

METHODS: Coping With Cancer was a prospective, longitudinal, multisite study of terminally ill cancer patients followed until death. In structured interviews, patients reported their LEEs and the sources of these estimates (ie, medical providers, personal beliefs, religious beliefs, and other). The accuracy of LEEs was calculated through a comparison of patients' self-reported LEEs with their actual survival.

RESULTS: The sample for this analysis included 229 patients: 31 black patients and 198 white patients. Only 39.30% of the patients estimated their life expectancy within 12 months of their actual survival. Black patients were more likely to have an inaccurate LEE than white patients. A minority of the sample (18.3%) reported that a medical provider was the source of their LEEs; none of the black patients (0%) based their LEEs on a medical provider. Black race remained a significant predictor of an inaccurate LEE, even after the analysis had been controlled for sociodemographic characteristics and the source of LEEs.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of advanced cancer patients have an inaccurate understanding of their life expectancy. Black patients with advanced cancer are more likely to have an inaccurate LEE than white patients. Medical providers are not the source of information for LEEs for most advanced cancer patients and especially for black patients. The source of LEEs does not explain racial differences in LEE accuracy. Additional research into the mechanisms underlying racial differences in prognostic understanding is needed. Cancer 2016;000:000-000. © 2016 The Authors. Cancer published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Cancer Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

DOI10.1002/cncr.30001
Alternate JournalCancer
Refereed DesignationUnknown
PubMed ID27028270