Perceptions of cancer treatment decision making among American Indians/Alaska Natives and their physicians

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Abstract

Objective

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients are significantly less likely than non-Hispanic whites to receive guideline-concordant cancer care. Our objective was to examine cancer treatment decision making among AI/AN patients and their providers.

Methods

From 2011 to 2014, AI/AN cancer patients and their surgeons were identified through a hospital registry in Washington State. Patients were invited to participate in a mailed survey that queried socio-demographics, cultural affiliation, everyday perceived discrimination, and trust in providers. Both patients and surgeons were queried about decision-making quality (collaboration and satisfaction). The primary outcome was association between patient and provider assessments of decision-making quality. The secondary outcome was non-adherence to treatment.

Results

Forty-nine patients (62% response rate) and 14 surgeons (37% response rate) returned surveys. Half of patients had not completed high school; 41% were living in poverty. Half of patients reported a strong tribal affiliation and most reported experiencing some form of discrimination. Patients endorsed high trust in surgeons and a high quality decision-making process; and surgeons’ rated decision-making quality even more highly than patients did in every domain. Non-adherence to treatment recommendations was common (26%) and was significantly associated with lower patient-reported collaboration and satisfaction with decision making.

Conclusions

Given the importance of adherence to cancer treatment for survival, the many non-clinical reasons for non-adherence, and the currently demonstrated association between decision-making quality and adherence, it would be worthwhile to investigate how to increase AI/AN patient satisfaction with decision making and whether improving satisfaction yields improved adherence to the cancer treatment plan. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Psycho-Oncology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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