Are You An Unmarried Person Who Has Just Been Diagnosed With Cancer???

If you are, you will likely not have as good an outcome as if you were married. What? Why? Damn good questions! Check this out. What you will see is a Ted Talk delivered by Joan DelFattore, Ph.D., pictured above. In it, she describes her own diagnosis and treatment for cancer that almost got off on the wrong track because she doesn’t have a husband.  

When ThinkGen’s Network Sage, Dr. Glenna Crooks, originally told me that cancer patients without family support networks did not do as well as those with, I assumed that was because they had no one to comfort them. That might be part of it, but it is not the big story here.

Or, one might also assume that patients in this solo demographic category might be more depressed and less goal oriented in their approach to treatment, and therefore not do as well. Again maybe part of it, but not the big story.  

In fact, as you hear Dr. DelFattore tell her tale, you discover that her Oncologist’s initial predilection was NOT to give her the medication she really needed, due to his concern that the side effects might be too much for her to tolerate by herself. AND. Apparently this kind of discrimination is fairly common!!!

Bottom Line. Discrimination in treatment based on a demographic like marital status!!! Got me to thinking. How pervasive is “demographic discrimination” in the practice of medicine? How many forms does it take? And what should be done about it???

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