To Reduce Cancer’s Terrible Toll, UVA Reaches Out to Those Often Left Unheard

July 11 2019
Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center

The UVA Cancer Center is reaching out to the people it serves to identify and overcome barriers to care.

With the help of the UVA Center for Survey Research, the Cancer Center is preparing to collect opinions from people in the 94 localities that are home to more than 80 percent of the Cancer Center’s patients. UVA is placing particular emphasis on reaching people who are often underrepresented in surveys – including rural residents, low-income residents, minorities and people aged 25 to 45.

“The goal of this assessment is to better understand the needs of residents in the commonwealth so the UVA Cancer Center can provide targeted and expert cancer prevention, cancer-risk reduction and quality services to cancer survivors,” said Wendy Cohn, PhD, Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at UVA Cancer Center. “This will benefit our patients, families and residents of the commonwealth because we will be able to provide programs and services that are uniquely tailored to patients. We will be better able to respond to the needs and preferences of our patients by providing timely and evidence-based programs to those who need them.​”

Providing the Best Cancer Care

The research team will inquire about important topics including barriers to care, residents’ use of technology, their cancer screening and prevention behaviors and their attitudes toward genetic testing and medical research.

UVA will do this through the traditional survey methods of phone calls and mailings, but the researchers are also taking advantage of social media: To reach those often left unreached, UVA plans to launch a social media campaign on both Facebook and Instagram.

Cancer Center leaders hope to collect opinions from at least 2,000 people. They plan to use the information to improve how the center serves its patients and to devise solutions to the problems that prevent people from getting the best care possible. The results could lead to new medical interventions, for example, or inform policy changes to improve public health, increase cancer prevention efforts and enhance cancer care.

“The UVA Cancer Center is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer in the commonwealth through excellence in research, education, treatment and community service,” said Roger T. Anderson, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Public Health Sciences, the associate director for population sciences for the Cancer Center. “We are delighted that this NCI [National Cancer Institute] initiative will allow us to gain valuable insight in the commonwealth on where assistance is needed on topics such as increasing awareness of cancer prevention, stopping use of tobacco products, becoming physically active, reducing barriers to recommended cancer-screening services and getting access to the latest and most effective cancer therapies. We look forward to sharing the results of this survey with the many community partners, health systems and cancer prevention stakeholders throughout Virginia.”

About UVA’s Cancer Campaign

The outreach campaign is expected to begin in the coming weeks. The project is being coordinated by researcher Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

“By collecting detailed behavioral data through this survey that are specific and representative to patients in the UVA Cancer Center area, we can understand region-specific risk factors and behaviors related to cancer,” Balkrishnan said. “This will enable researchers and clinicians at UVA to design interventions and treatment strategies that will most benefit patients.”

The research is being funded by NCI grant 3P30CA044579-27S5. The NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

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The Cancer Survey Area Includes:

Albemarle
Alleghany
Amherst
Appomattox
Augusta
Bath
Bedford
Bland
Botetourt
Buchanan
Buckingham
Campbell
Carroll
Charlotte
Clarke
Craig
Culpeper
Cumberland
Dickenson
Fauquier
Floyd
Fluvanna
Franklin
Frederick
Giles
Grayson
Greene
Halifax
Henry
Highland
Lee
Louisa
Madison
Montgomery
Nelson
Orange
Page
Patrick
Pittsylvania
Prince Edward
Pulaski
Rappahannock
Roanoke
Rockbridge
Rockingham
Russell
Scott
Shenandoah
Smyth
Spotsylvania
Stafford
Tazewell
Warren
Washington
Wise
Wythe
Bedford City
Bristol City
Buena Vista City
Charlottesville City
Covington City
Danville City
Fredericksburg City
Galax City
Harrisonburg City
Lexington City
Lynchburg City
Martinsville City
Norton City
Radford City
Roanoke City
Salem City
Staunton City
Waynesboro City
Winchester City
Fayette
Greenbrier
Hardy
Kanawha
McDowell
Mercer
Monroe
Nicholas
Pendleton
Pocahontas
Raleigh
Summers
Wyoming
Loudoun
Fairfax
Arlington
City of Alexandria
City of Fairfax
City of Falls Church


Joshua Barney
Deputy Public Information Officer
Phone: 434.243.1988
Categories: All Releases, Oncology