Patterns of Preventive Services Utilization of Cancer Survivors (Research Supplement for Underrepresented Minorities Program)

Background

Despite improvements in overall case-fatality rates over the past two decades, disparities in survival from cancer particularly between Blacks and Whites have continued to increase. The causes of these disparities remain unclear. Given that many forms of cancer are preventable through screening, and potentially curable, it is imperative to identify the underlying causes of racial and ethnic differences in survival. The goal of this proposal is to identify potentially modifiable contributing factors to disparities in survival from cancer that may be amenable to system-based interventions.

##Study Aims

1. Determine the utilization patterns of cancer early detection services among women following diagnosis of incident breast cancer or cervical neoplasm

2. Identify socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. age and race), clinical characteristics (e.g. comorbid conditions, tumor type and stage), and healthcare utilization patterns (e.g. number of visits to primary care provider) that may predict use of cancer early detection services following diagnosis of incident breast or cervical cancer.

##Methods

Dr. Doubeni was funded through a research supplement for underrepresented minorities from the National Cancer Institute to the Cancer Research Network. The goal of that funding was to enhance Dr. Doubeni’s ability to perform independent research “that develops and tests rational scientific hypotheses based on fundamental and clinical research findings with the potential for improving the medical care of cancer patients”. The Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program for underrepresented minority populations aimed to “broaden participation of underrepresented minority individuals in cancer-related research and training activities while encouraging them to become independent/competitive cancer researchers”.

##Significance

Dr. Doubeni’s research experiences over the past 2 years have focused on: (1) use of large longitudinal databases; (2) racial and ethnic disparities in cancer stage and survival; (3) studies of screening/surveillance testing for disease among cancer patients and among patients with cardiovascular risk factors; (4) studies of treatment patterns including trends in treatment over time; and (5) characterizing comorbid medical conditions. Dr. Doubeni is therefore poised to becoming a successful independent investigator. His future research training will build on this foundation.

The goals of the Minority Supplement Program were achieved in that Dr. Doubeni successfully received a mentored career development award at the end of the supplement funding. Dr. Doubeni now has a strong foundation on which he will build a successful career as a nationally recognized independently-funded clinician-investigator.

##Project Status

This project was funded under the auspices of the CRN by the National Cancer Institute for Dr. Doubeni’s research training activities. Dr. Doubeni embarked on a program of aggressive research career development. He completed several important research projects that have resulted in several peer-reviewed publications including a widely publicized report on the care of cancer survivors. The public health importance of Dr. Doubeni’s research activities has been underscored by the general public’s interest in Dr. Doubeni’s published work.

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