Tag Archive for: disparities

Addressing Fears about Cancer Clinical Research

Understandably, many who are diagnosed with cancer are overwhelmed with fear for their health and for what the future may hold.  However, understanding the fears around cancer research studies can help bring modern treatment approaches to high-need, high-risk groups in their own communities. In this short video, Raymond U. Osarogiagbon, M.D, principal investigator of the Baptist Memorial Health Care/Mid-South Minority Underserved NCORP, tells about reaching out and taking the time to help one cancer patient and her family understand why a clinical trial might be the best care option.  Find more information about cancer clinical trials in your community HERE.

Source: www.ncorp.cancer.gov

Bringing Research to the Community to Reduce Cancer Disparities

Bringing Research to the Community to Reduce Cancer Disparities was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.

Approximately 85% of cancer patients in the United States receive care in community settings, not at academic medical centers where most clinical trials take place. This is certainly true in South Carolina, where Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) serves as the state’s only NCI-Designated Cancer Center.

More than 30% of the people in South Carolina are minorities, and more than 40% live in rural areas. These individuals can often face logistical and financial challenges when trying to access clinical trials. For example, for someone who lives several hours from MUSC, receiving care there would take an entire day. “A lost day’s work equals a lost day’s pay” for many people in South Carolina, said Chanita Hughes-Halbert, a nationally recognized leader in cancer disparities research and behavioral science at MUSC.

Being able to join research studies in a person’s own community allows them to miss less time at work, stay close to family and friends, and reduces the burden of participation in research while increasing the quality of their care. To enhance patient access to clinical trials and facilitate the participation of community providers in cancer research, NCI launched the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) in 2014. Forty-six community sites comprise NCORP, each of which partners with other cancer care providers in their region.

Twelve of the NCORP sites are minority/underserved community sites that have patient populations of at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents. One of the minority/underserved sites is MUSC, which brought together community care organizations across the state as a result of its NCORP grant. Chanita leads the NCORP site along with public health researcher Marvella Ford, Ph.D., and hematologist/oncologist Carolyn Britten, M.D. The NCORP grant created a “team spirit” among the collaborating organizations and is facilitating interaction among researchers in different disciplines that traditionally are siloed, said Chanita.

Enhancing participation of patients in precision medicine trials is particularly important, Chanita said, because finding and subdividing patients into distinct groups based on the genomic characteristics of their tumors is “like looking for a needle in a haystack.” She added, “A national effort is required to increase the pace of this research and for it to be successful.”

As evidence of this, NCORP sites are playing a critical role in the NCI Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) trial, in which patients are assigned to receive treatment based on the genetic changes in their tumors. The number of patients in the trial increased from 3,000 to 6,000, thanks to increased resources provided by NCI’s regular appropriation.

The trial reached its goal of sequencing the tumors of 6,000 patients in June 2017, nearly 2 years sooner than expected due to wide-scale adoption of the trial throughout NCORP and NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The unprecedented rate of patient enrollment was accomplished by more than 1,100 academic centers and community hospitals in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and is reaching traditionally underrepresented rural populations.

The MUSC NCORP grant is supporting enhanced access to clinical trials with a focus on minority and underserved communities with the goal of reducing cancer disparities. “Efforts to enroll more diverse patients helps ensure that we don’t get to the end of trials and realize we won’t be able to understand how treatments will work in different populations,” concluded Chanita.

23 Rural States are Served by NCORP

Clinical Trials are available to people across the U.S. through the NCI Clinical Oncology Research Program (NCORP), including 23 states with large rural populations.Clinical Trials are available to people across the U.S. through the NCI Clinical Oncology Research Program (NCORP), including 23 states with large rural populations  SCOR serves three states with rural populations between 30% & 51% — North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  SCOR also serves Florida, Georgia and Virginia, which have rural populations between 25% & 29%.

These statistics are important to understand because, as studies have shown, rural patients do not live as long as their urban counterparts.  However, a study done by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), the international cancer clinical trials network funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), indicates that this difference in survival is not due to patients – but to the care they receive.

NCORP aims to reduce these disparities by bringing the same treatments and standards of care that are the norm in large, urban and academic hospitals to smaller, rural community hospitals, health centers and medical practices.  >>read more

Facebook Live Dialogue on Cancer Disparities, Prevention, and Research

Posted: April 30, 2019

During Minority Health Month on April 18, from 12 pm -1 pm EDT, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosted a Facebook Live event called “A Dialogue on Cancer Disparities, Prevention, and Research.”

Many factors contribute to cancer disparities or differences in cancer outcomes. Cancer can affect all populations in the United States, but some groups may bear a disproportionate burden.

The Facebook Live event featured Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, MS, director of the NCI Community Oncology Research Network (NCORP), Brid M. Ryan, PhD, MPH, of the NCI Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, and Christina Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPHExternal Web Site Policy, of the University of Southern California. They discussed cancer disparities and the work being done to help reduce them.

NCORPs have an important role in providing the opportunity for minorities to take part in clinical studies, with Minority/Underserved NCORP sites having an additional focus on underserved populations.

(source: NCORP.cancer.gov)