Race, Affordability and Utilization of Supportive Care in Ovarian Cancer Patients



      Lack of access to supportive care (SC) among cancer patients have been well documented. However, the role of affordability in this disparity among ovarian cancer (OC) patients remain poorly understood.


      Patients with OC between 2008 and 2015 were identified from the SEER-Medicare dataset. Racial disparities in utilization of SC medications within the six months of OC diagnosis among patients with Medicare Part D coverage was examined. Multivariable log-binomial regression models were used to examine the associations of race, affordability and SC medications after adjusting for clinical covariates among all patients and separately among patients with advanced-stage disease.


      The study cohort included 3697 patients: 86% non-Hispanic White (NHW), 6% non-Hispanic Black (NHB), and 8% Hispanic. In adjusted models, NHB and Hispanic patients were less likely to receive antidepressants compared to NHW patients (NHB: aOR 0.46; 95% CI 0.33–0.63 and Hispanic: aOR 0.79; 95% CI 0.63–0.99). This association persisted for NHB patients with advanced-stage disease (aOR 0.42; 95% CI 0.28–0.62). Patients dual enrolled in Medicaid were more likely to receive antidepressants (overall: aOR 1.34; 95% CI 1.17–1.53 and advanced-stage: aOR 1.29; 95% CI 1.10–1.52). However, patients residing in areas with higher vs. lower proportions of lower educated adults (overall: aOR 0.82; 95% CI 0.70–0.97 and advanced-stage: aOR 0.82; 95% CI 0.68–0.99) were less likely to receive antidepressants.


      Black OC patients and those living in lower educated areas were less likely to receive antidepressants as SC. Given the importance of post-primary treatment quality of life for cancer patients, interventions are needed to enhance equitable access to SC.

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