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Keywords:

  • adjuvant cancer treatment;
  • adherence;
  • patient navigation;
  • low-income;
  • Hispanics

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The authors implemented a controlled, randomized trial that compared 2 interventions: the provision of written resource navigation information (enhanced usual care [EUC]) versus written information plus patient navigation (TPN) aimed at improving adjuvant treatment adherence and follow-up among 487 low-income, predominantly Hispanic women with breast cancer or gynecologic cancer.

METHODS:

Women were randomized to receive either TPN or EUC; and chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and follow-up were assessed over 12 months. Patients with breast cancer were analyzed separately from patients with gynecologic cancer.

RESULTS:

Overall adherence rates ranged from 87% to 94%, and there were no significant differences between the TPN group and the EUC group. Among women with breast cancer, 90% of the EUC group and 88% of the TPN group completed chemotherapy (14% of the EUC group and 26% of the TPN group delayed the completion of chemotherapy), 2% of the EUC group and 4% of the TPN group failed to complete chemotherapy, and 8% of the EUC group and 7% of the TPN group refused chemotherapy. Radiation treatment adherence was similar between the groups: Ninety percent of patients completed radiation (40% of the EUC group and 42% of the TPN group delayed the completion of radiation); in both groups, 2% failed to complete radiation, and 8% refused radiation. Among gynecologic patients, 87% of the EUC group and 94% of the TPN group completed chemotherapy (41% of the EUC group and 31% of the TPN group completed it with delays), 7% of the EUC group and 6% of the TPN group failed to complete chemotherapy, 6% of the EUC refused chemotherapy, 87% of the EUC group and 84% of the TPN group completed radiation (51% of the EUC group and 42% of the TPN with delays), 5% of the EUC group and 8% of the TPN group failed to complete radiation, and 8% of the EUC group and 5% of the TPN group refused radiation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Treatment adherence across randomized groups was notably higher than reported in previous studies, suggesting that active telephone patient navigation or written resource informational materials may facilitate adherence among low-income, predominantly Hispanic women. Adherence also may have be facilitated by federal-state breast and cervical cancer treatment funding. Cancer 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society.