Center on Race and Social Problems

Palliative and End of Life Needs of Patients with Advanced Cancer: The Influence of Race, Economic Distress and Literacy

March 1, 2013 to March 1, 2014

This study was implemented, as planned and is proceeding well, according to our time schedule.  We have recruited 30 subjects from the cancer sites of Hillman and Magee Cancer Centers. Patients with advanced illness are reporting high levels of distress, both physically and socially. Physically the distress appears to stem from classic symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and pain. Socially the most common problems are worry about finances due to the costs of cancer care and transportation issues. Literacy does not appear to be a problem in this population.

We will continue to recruit patients with advanced cancer. We hope to continue recruitment through next spring, with analysis and dissemination in early summer. This past summer, we submitted an Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) grant (U18). This was a Request for Proposals that asked for specific programs directed toward reducing health care disparities.   The foundational elements of the grant were based on the premise that a systematic network of support must be in place from the cancer center to the community in order to assist patients with advanced cancer and reduce distress. We believe this initiative can be best led through nursing and social work in an interdisciplinary approach.