Breast Cancer | Accountability for Cancer Care Through Undoing Racism and Equity

Breast Cancer research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Purpose: African American cancer patients, as compared to their White counterparts, continue to initiate treatment later and remain less apt to undergo complete treatment; fueling worse treatment outcomes including shorter survival. The concepts of \"transparency\" and \"accountability,\" as mechanisms of systems change have been applied for decades by anti-racism organizations to civil rights and social change. Yet, the application of these concepts to health systems' change and unequal treatment has rarely been done. The Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative and two Cancer Centers have joined together to specify structures built into cancer care systems that make cancer care vulnerable to institutional racism and investigate how they can be changed to reduce racial inequity in quality and completion of treatment for Stage 1-2 breast and lung cancer patients. Participants: White and African American patients with first diagnosis of Stage 1-2 breast and lung cancer, with intention to treat, and their cancer care staff at 2 cancer centers. The 2 cancer centers are Cone Health Cancer Center (CHCC) in Greensboro, North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Comprehensive Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Procedures (methods): Using a 5-year interrupted time-series, with an embedded randomized control trial (RCT) study design, we will test the effectiveness of the ACCURE intervention components. Having received Institutional Review Board approval for Phase 1, we completed a 5-year, retrospective review of de-identified Electronic Medical Record data to establish a baseline of repeated outcome measures, convening of an expert committee to design the intervention, and design of the real-time, electronic breast and lung cancer registry coupled with dummy testing of the registry system. The randomized trial will compare patients who receive usual care to those who receive visits and calls from a trained ACCURE Navigator, who is well versed in issues specific to breast and lung cancer and trained to serve as a two-way communication bridge to optimize the cancer care system's accountability and transparency for equity in quality of care. Given unintended, but likely variation in implementation of the ACCURE intervention by the two Cancer Centers (at our two research sites), 6 elements of implementation and their potential effect on outcomes will be documented through a process evaluation.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - White or African American patients aged 18 or older - Recently received a first diagnosis of stage 1 or 2 breast or lung cancer - Patient plans to initiate oncology treatment with curative intent Exclusion Criteria: - Have cognitive impairments or limited English proficiency that would preclude their ability to comprehend survey questions

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Breast Cancer

Lung Cancer

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Other:ACCURE NavigatorThe ACCURE Real-Time Registry will automatically alert the ACCURE Navigator to follow a schedule of patient-interactions. The Navigator has been trained to employ the "teachback" method of patient education as appropriate per encounter. For instance: (1) initial face-to-face interaction, after the patient's first visit with the oncologist; (2) telephone call 3 business days after the initial visit; (3) contact the patient 10-21 days after the initial visit; and (4) after treatment has begun, contacting the patient every 8 weeks.It is projected that 50% of the staff will attend the Healthcare Equity Training (HET) and Booster Sessions.

Other:Usual Care by Cancer Center Care TeamThe Usual Care group will receive the support and care that is usually given to patients at their designated cancer center.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

ACCURE NavigatorFor those patients assigned to the ACCURE Navigator, the ACCURE Real-Time Registry is programmed to automatically alert the Navigator when a patient misses a scheduled treatment appointment and to require the Navigator to include details as to how she addressed and resolved that missed appointment, ensuring the ACCURE Navigator's proactive approach to addressing such issues. In addition, a warning message will be produced if no follow-up appointments or procedures are scheduled within 21 days of the index visit.

Usual Care by Cancer Center Care TeamA list of registry warnings about all patients enrolled in the study will be delivered securely to a designated representative at the clinic.

Study Status


Start Date: April 2013

Completed Date: March 2018

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Lung Cancer - Lung Resection Surgery within 4 months of diagnosis or stereotactic radiation Breast Cancer - Completion of surgery, radiation if surgery is breast conserving, and adjuvant chemotherapy (when indicated) within 6 months of diagnosis

Secondary Outcome: Adherence to scheduled appointments

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Eugenia Eng, MPH, DrPH

Lead Sponsor: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Collaborator: National Cancer Institute (NCI)

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