Hospitals That Serve Mostly Black Patients Are Less Likely to Have Core Resources to Battle Cancer

Among the nation’s hospitals, those that serve high numbers of Black and Hispanic patients are far less likely to have advanced medical equipment and critical services that have been shown to boost the quality and effectiveness of cancer care, according to a study led by investigators at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

UCLA researchers looked at nearly 4,400 hospitals across the U.S., including 864 with high numbers of Black and Hispanic patients. They found that hospitals serving Black, Hispanic, and other racial and ethnic minority patients were significantly less likely than other hospitals to have access to core cancer services.

The team looked at the availability of 34 cancer-related services at these facilities, including core services like hospice care and pain management, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, robotic surgery, diagnostic radiology, patient support groups, and tobacco-cessation programs. They found that hospitals serving high numbers of Black, Hispanic, and other racial and ethnic minority patients were significantly less likely to offer all the core services.

“When it comes to treating people with cancer, we know adequate resources are essential for quality care,” said Dr. Gracie Himmelstein, a resident physician in the department of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and lead author of the study. “And we know what hospital you go to has a big impact on sort of what care you get. A big piece of why that is, has to do with the resources that are available at those hospitals.”

The study, “Distribution of Cancer Care Resources Across US Hospitals by Patient Race and Ethnicity,” was published in JAMA Oncology. It may be accessed here.

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