Do Community-Based Patient Assistance Programs Affect the Treatment and Well-Being of Patients With Breast Cancer?
ABSTRACT Patients with breast cancer who need adjuvant treatments often fail to receive them. High-quality, community-based patient-assistance programs are an underused, inexpensive resource to help patients with cancer obtain needed therapy. We sought to determine whether connecting women to patient-assistance programs would reduce underuse of adjuvant therapies.
We conducted a randomized trial of 374 women (190 assigned intervention [INT], 184 to usual care [UC]) with early-stage breast cancer who underwent surgery between October 2006 and August 2009. After initial needs assessment, individualized action plans were created to connect INT patients with targeted patient-assistance programs; UC patients received an informational pamphlet. Main outcome measures were receiving adjuvant treatment and obtaining help.
High rates of INT and UC patients received treatment: 87% INT versus 91% UC women who underwent lumpectomy received radiotherapy (P = .39); 93% INT versus 86% UC women with estrogen receptor (ER) -negative tumors ≥ 1 cm received chemotherapy (P = .42); 92% INT versus 93% UC women with ER-positive tumors ≥ 1 cm received hormonal therapy (P = .80). Many women reported needs: 63% had informational; 55%, psychosocial; and 53%, practical needs. High rates of INT patients with needs connected with a program within 2 weeks (92%). At 6 months, INT and UC women used patient-assistance programs at similar rates (75% v 76%; P = .54). Women with informational or psychosocial needs were more likely to receive help (relative risk [RR], 1.77; 95% CI, 1.51 to 1.90 and RR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.61, respectively).
INT and UC patients received high rates of adjuvant treatment regardless of trial assignment. Patients with breast cancer who connect to relevant patient assistance programs receive useful informational and psychosocial but not practical help.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose Patient navigation is increasingly employed to guide patients through cancer treatment. We assessed the elements of navigation that promoted patients’ involvement in treatment among patients with breast and colorectal cancer that participated in a navigation study. Methods We conducted qualitative analysis of 28 audiotaped and transcribed semi-structured interviews of navigated and unnavigated cancer patients. Results Themes included feeling emotionally and cognitively overwhelmed and desire for a strong patient-navigator partnership. Both participants who were navigated and those who were not felt that navigation did or could help address their emotional, informational, and communicational needs. The benefits of logistical support were cited less often. Conclusions Findings underscore the salience of personal relationships between patients and navigators in meeting patients’ emotional and informational needs.Supportive Care Cancer 06/2014; 22(12). DOI:10.1007/s00520-014-2295-z · 2.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Oncotype DX, a 21-gene-array analysis, can guide chemotherapy treatment decisions for women with ER+ tumors. Of 225 ER+ women participating in a patient assistance trial, 23% underwent Oncotype DX testing: 31% of whites, 21% of blacks, and 14% of Hispanics (P = 0.04) were tested. Only 3 white women were treated at municipal hospitals and none was tested. 3% of women treated in municipal hospital as compared to 30% treated at tertiary referral centers were tested (P = 0.001). Within tertiary referral centers, there was no racial difference in testing: 32% of whites, 29% of blacks, and 19% of Hispanics (P = 0.25). Multivariate analysis (model c-statistic = 0.76; P < 0.0001) revealed that women who underwent testing were more likely to have stage 1B (RR = 1.70; 95% CI: 1.45-1.85) and to be treated after 2007 (RR = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.01-1.65) and less likely to be treated at a municipal hospital (RR = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.04-0.94). Women treated at municipal hospitals were less likely to undergo testing resulting in a misleading racial disparity that is driven by site of care. As Oncotype DX can reduce overuse of chemotherapy, it is imperative to expand testing to those who could benefit from yet experience underuse of this test, namely, women treated at safety net hospitals. This trial is registered with NCT00233077.01/2013; 2013:653805. DOI:10.1155/2013/653805