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Implicit Bias Training: Improving Outcomes for Patients With Cancer Who Have Substance Use Disorders

Kathy Burns
Gretchen A. McNally
CJON 2021, 25(5), 595-599 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.595-599

Being mindful of one’s implicit bias in the treatment of patients with cancer who have substance use disorders is fundamental to quality of care and good patient outcomes. Implicit bias held by healthcare professionals could negatively affect patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment decisions, and follow-ups at discharge.


  • Unrecognized implicit bias may negatively affect health outcomes. 
  • People with cancer experiencing substance use or opioid use disorders have two life-threatening illnesses that need to be addressed.
  • Developing an evidence-based implicit bias education program for healthcare professionals specific to oncology and substance use disorder biases may be one option to address the situation.

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