Charleston, SC (WLTX) -- African Americans in South Carolina with early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are significantly less likely than Caucasians to receive surgical treatment for their disease, thus significantly reducing chances of survival. This reflects a national trend that the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and statewide partners hope to change with a $1.8 million federal grant.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
While surgery is the standard of care for early stage NSCLC and offers the best chance for long-term survival, fewer than half of African -Americans diagnosed undergo surgery. This study, funded by the NIH's National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, will test whether statewide patient navigation intervention improves receipt of surgery, time to surgery, and survival in African Americans with early stage NSCLC.
The study, led by Nestor F. Esnaola, M.D., a surgical oncologist and medical director of MUSC's oncology service line; and Marvella E. Ford, Ph.D., associate director for Cancer Disparities at the Hollings Cancer Center, will be conducted at MUSC and five other cancer centers across South Carolina:
• McLeod Regional Medical Center (Florence)
• Palmetto Health (Columbia)
• Self Regional Healthcare (Greenwood)
• Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (Spartanburg)
• The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties (Orangeburg)
"Our hope is that this study will uncover modifiable causes of underuse of lung cancer surgery among African Americans," said Ford. "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."
"This 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," added Esnaola.