Research on the Quality of Cancer Care in Diverse Populations


Population-based Research to Understand and Improve the Quality of Cancer Care

CanSORT has had a strong track record of continuous funding from NCI in collaboration with selected Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registries in the U.S. to evaluate patterns and quality of breast cancer treatment in racially/ethnically diverse patients. These projects evaluate patterns of breast cancer care in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ, in Latinas, and African Americans; and assess the role of the health care system in contributing to patient outcomes in breast cancer treatment. We have also been funded to evaluate patterns and correlates of breast reconstruction following mastectomy. More recent research studies examines the impact of breast cancer on patient quality of life and work in the survivorship period and system determinants of quality of care for patients with colorectal cancer and thyroid cancer. This includes a study of physician attitudes about the role of clinical guidelines in treatment decision-making.

Additional NCI funded projects evaluate patterns of systemic treatment and the quality of evaluative tests for women with breast cancer. In this research, patient survey and SEER data will be further supplemented by medical record data about patterns of chemotherapy utilization and dosing. Finally, stored tissue of consenting patients will be retested to examine discordance between community laboratories and a pathology laboratory center of excellence.

Innovative Intervention Research

CanSORT recognizes the importance of translating the results of population based research into interventions to improve the quality of care for patients. The team has developed a decision tool to improve the quality of breast cancer treatment decisions. A unique feature of this web-based tool is the use of a preference elicitation method that allows women to compare and choose between attributes related to different surgical options, and to use feedback from the site in making their treatment decision. The CanSORT team has also been funded to develop and evaluate a preference-based decision tool for colorectal cancer screening.

The Challenge of Individualizing Treatments for Patients with Cancer

CanSORT received a $15 million dollar program award from the NCI in 2012 to lead research addressing the challenges of individualizing treatments for patients with breast cancer. The program aims to examine the challenges of individualizing treatments for breast cancer; improve decision quality for patients with breast cancer; accelerate the dissemination of SEER-based research findings to clinicians in the region; and advance methods in SEER population translational research focused on quality of care.

Click here to learn more about I Can Care, a survey that is being administered as part of this research.