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January 14, 2023

Study finds racial inequities in access to opioids among older patients with cancer near end of life

Black Medicare patients were four percent less likely to receive any opioid and three percent less likely to receive long-acting opioids near the end of life, similar to differences observed between Hispanic and white Medicare patients.

“…Our findings are startling because everyone should agree that cancer patients should have equal access to pain relief at the end of life,” said the study’s senior author, Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, about the racial inequities found between Black and Hispanic cancer patients, and their white counterparts.

Racial disparities were also found in urine screening practices, with Black patients more likely to undergo such screening. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) doesn’t indicate whether patients dying of cancer should be exempt from such testing.

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