Fighting Physician Bias Against Unmarried Patients With Cancer


In this episode of the “Cure Talks Cancer” podcast, we spoke with Joan DelFattore about how she overcame the physician bias she encountered during her cancer treatment.

Joan DelFattore may not have a spouse or children, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the fighting spirit of a pack of wolves. Over a long career in academia, she’s built deep, meaningful connections with extended family members, friends and colleagues. They were the ones she tapped for support following the cancer surgery that saved her life.

But when DelFattore needed follow-up chemotherapy, she ran into a roadblock when her oncologist found out that despite her robust network of non-familial connections, she didn’t have a spouse or children to care for her.

Was this implicit bias or was it best practice on the physician’s part? Was this happening to other patients or was this an anomaly? DelFattore pored through scientific studies to find out and she answers those questions in her new essay "Death By Stereotype? Cancer Treatment in Unmarried Patients."

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