Background. High-quality cancer information resources are available but underutilized by the public. Despite greater awareness of the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service among low-income African Americans and Hispanics compared with Caucasians, actual Cancer Information Service usage is lower than expected, paralleling excess cancer-related morbidity and mortality for these subgroups. The proposed research examines how to connect the Cancer Information Service to low-income African-American and Hispanic women and their health care providers. The study will examine whether targeted physician mailing to women scheduled for colposcopy to follow up an abnormal Pap test can increase calls to the Cancer Information Service, enhance appropriate medical follow-up, and improve satisfaction with provider-patient communication. Methods/Design. The study will be conducted in two clinics in ethnically diverse low-income communities in Chicago. During the formative phase, patients and providers will provide input regarding materials planned for use in the experimental phase of the study. The experimental phase will use a two-group prospective randomized controlled trial design. African American and Hispanic women with an abnormal Pap test will be randomized to Usual Care (routine colposcopy reminder letter) or Intervention (reminder plus provider recommendation to call the Cancer Information Service and sample questions to ask). Primary outcomes will be: 1) calls to the Cancer Information Service; 2) timely medical follow-up, operationalized by whether the patient keeps her colposcopy appointment within six months of the abnormal Pap; and 3) patient satisfaction with provider-patient communication at follow-up. Discussion. The study examines the effectiveness of a feasible, sustainable, and culturally sensitive strategy to increase awareness and use of the Cancer Information Service among an underserved population. The goal of linking a public service (the Cancer Information Service) with real-life settings of practice (the clinics), and considering input from patients, providers, and Cancer Information Service staff, is to ensure that the intervention, if proven effective, can be incorporated into existing care systems and sustained. The approach to study design and planning is aimed at bridging the gap between research and practice/service.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health