Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have received a multi-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to determine factors which may influence why African Americans are less likely than others to receive colorectal cancer (CRC) screenings, despite having the highest CRC incidence and mortality of any ethnic/racial group in America.
"The short-term goal of this study is to understand why there is a lower screening prevalence among African Americans, and the long-term goal is to develop and disseminate effective intervention strategies to increase the CRC screening in this population, so that we can eliminate the race-related disparity in morbidity and mortality," said Lina Jandorf, MA, Research Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai and a principal investigator in the study.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading source of cancer deaths and the third leading source of new cancer cases in the United States. The mortality rate for CRC is a remarkable 49 percent higher for African Americans than for whites, according to the American Cancer Society. Improving CRC screening rates is important for early detection, treatment and improved survival rates.
Researchers at Mount Sinai, Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY and the University of Buffalo seek to enroll 900 study participants as part of the four-year, $2.6-million grant. They will compare the effectiveness of two approaches to educating African Americans over the age of 50 about the need for screening. One is a "narrative" approach and involves story telling i.e. encouraging participants to talk about their fears and thoughts associated with a colonoscopy screening. The other approach is "didactic" giving patients "just the facts" about the disease and the colonoscopy procedure. Based on their findings, the research team hopes to develop new tools for educating African Americans about screening.
"While researchers have compared the success of narrative vs. didactic community education approaches for other cancers, this is the first such major comparative study for colorectal cancer in African Americans," said Professor Jandorf. "Mount Sinai's involvement in this study reflects our ongoing commitment to improving the health of our local community, much of which is African American."
Under Professor Jandorf's direction, Mount Sinai has extensive experience in conducting investigations and developing successful strategies to improve colon cancer screening rates for Hispanics, East Harlem residents and low-income minorities.
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