Redes Researchers Assess Needs for 'Cancer Navigator' Program

Redes researchers review clinical records to help in design of new 'cancer navigator' program.
Redes researchers review clinical records to help in design of new 'cancer navigator' program.

January 3, 2007

Redes En Acción researchers are working within communities across the country to investigate clinical records of Latina women in an effort to gather information that will help in the design of a new 'cancer navigator' program.

The researchers from Redes En Acción Regional Network Centers are collecting breast and colorectal cancer screening and diagnostic data as part of a needs assessment to lay the foundation for the patient navigator program. The records audit is gathering information from clinics in San Francisco, San Diego, New York City, Miami, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley.

"We're looking at a number of factors that are specific to the cancer screening and diagnosis experience of Latina women," said Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Redes Principal Investigator. "The goal is to provide rich information that will help Redes En Acción create an extremely effective patient navigator program tailored to this population."

Little is known about the decision-making process of Latina women once they're informed of abnormal mammography or colorectal screening results. In compliance with strict patient confidentiality requirements, researchers are conducting medical records chart audits in community and academic health centers in an effort to gain new insight into the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that influence subsequent choices and decisions of Latina patients.

Investigators are examining various factors, such as adherence to interval screening, patterns of care, technical processes and timing of care following abnormal screening results. A focus will be on the adequacy of diagnostic services in association with related factors such as income, age, race, education, health insurance status, rural-urban residence and family cancer history.

At the six Redes sites, plans call for auditing more than 1,000 charts selected from a listing of abnormal mammography and colorectal cancer screening tests among Latino and non-Hispanic white individuals 40 to 80 years of age. Ultimately, the research is expected to lead to development of a culturally sensitive and effective cancer screening and care adherence program.

What Is Redes En Acción? Redes En Acción is a major NCI-supported initiative to combat cancer among Latinos through a nationwide network of community-based organizations, research institutions, government health agencies and the public. Core activities include promoting cancer training and research opportunities for Latino students and researchers, generating research projects on key Latino cancer issues, and supporting cancer awareness activities within the Latino community.

The initiative is coordinated by the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and San Antonio, with regional network centers in San Antonio, New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego.