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How an Intervention Trial Addressed Racial Disparities in Treatment of Early-Stage Cancers

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2019

A pragmatic, quality-improvement intervention led to higher completion rates and better overall survival for patients with breast and lung cancers and reduced racial disparities in treatment, according to a study conducted by Samuel Cykert, MD, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, and colleagues. The study was published in the Journal of the National Medical Association.

“If applied broadly, this intervention could potentially improve cancer treatment and reduce disparities in over 1,400 cancer centers in the United States,” the investigators concluded.

For the intervention group, a total of 302 patients with early-stage breast or lung cancer were enrolled from two cancer centers (Cone Health Cancer Center, Greensboro, North Carolina, and the University of Pittsburg Medical Center’s Hillman Cancer Center) between April 2013 and March 2015. The researchers examined health records from a control group of patients who were seen between January 2007 and December 2012. A second control group included a concurrent population of patients who were not enrolled in the improvement trial. The intervention included a real-time warning system derived from electronic health records, race-specific, feedback to medical professionals on treatment completion rates, and a nurse navigator navigator specially trained in racial equity to engage with patients throughout therapy.

Before the intervention, the treatment completion rates were 87.3% for white patients and 79.8% for black patients. Following the implementation of the intervention, the completion rates rose to 89.5% for white patients and 88.4% for black patients.

“Similar multifaceted interventions could mitigate disparities in the treatment of other cancers and chronic conditions,” predicted the investigators.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at sciencedirect.com.



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