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Cancer Advocacy Project

Observations & Issues

In the United States, only one in five individuals has advance directives addressing end-of-life issues. Advance directives are often not adequately discussed prior to a diagnosis of cancer for a multitude of reasons. For example, social and cultural groups vary widely with regard to beliefs and opinions on end-of-life care.

These cultural differences may include the appropriateness of talking about death, informing a cancer patient about his or her health status or differing family roles in the act of health care decision making. Lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness, coupled with a patient's language and literacy barriers, creates a charged atmosphere in which obtaining advance directives is a daunting task.

The Cancer Advocacy Project seeks to overcome these barriers, providing culturally sensitive legal and psychosocial education and guidance in the area of advance directives. Volunteer attorneys will travel to a cancer patient's home, hospital or hospice to facilitate these important documents.