Hollings Cancer Center gets $1.8 million grant to study racial disparities in lung cancer
Researchers at the Hollings Cancer Center will use a $1.8 million federal grant to study why blacks with a specific type of lung cancer are less likely than whites to undergo surgery to treat the condition, the Medical University of South Carolina has announced.
The study will test whether “patient navigation intervention” increases the likelihood that blacks will undergo surgery, leading to higher survival rates, according to a release from MUSC. In the intervention, health care providers help patients navigate the health care system from diagnosis to treatment, according to the study’s leaders. The process is intended to “reduce individual, sociocultural, economic and organizational barriers to care,” according to MUSC.
Blacks in South Carolina with a specific type of lung cancer — the early stage non-small cell variety — are less likely than whites to get surgery, making them more likely to die of the disease, according to MUSC.
While surgery is the generally recommended care for this type of lung cancer, fewer blacks with the disease undergo that treatment, according to MUSC.
National statistics reflect similar trends, according to the release.
“Our hope is that this study will uncover modifiable causes of underuse of lung cancer surgery among African-Americans,” Dr. Marvella Ford, associate director for cancer disparities at Hollings and one of the study’s lead researchers, said in a statement. “The patient navigation intervention may prove to be a practical and powerful strategy for use by other health care providers, institutions and communities seeking to reduce persistent racial disparities in lung cancer surgery and outcomes.”
The other lead researcher, Dr. Nestor Esnaola, a surgical oncologist at MUSC, said in a statement that the “project has the potential to transform the care of African-American lung cancer patients in our state and demonstrates our cancer center’s commitment to improving the health of all South Carolinians facing cancer.”
Five other South Carolina cancer centers also are involved in the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health minority health and health disparities division. They are McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence; Palmetto Health in Columbia; Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood; Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in Spartanburg; and the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties in Orangeburg.