UI CPCRN Collaborating Center highlights disparities in cancer prevention

Published on January 14, 2020

The University of Iowa Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (UI CPCRN) Collaborating Center contributes to supplemental issue of Preventive Medicine highlighting disparities in cancer prevention and control

In 2019, nearly 2 million Americans will receive a cancer diagnosis and more than 600,000 will die of cancer. Cancer diagnoses and deaths are disproportionately high among people who live in rural counties, have a low socioeconomic status, and are members of underserved racial and ethnic groups.

The UI CPCRN is part of a thematic network of the CDC’s Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) in which multiple centers collaborate on research related to the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based approaches to reduce the burden of cancer, especially in disproportionately affected populations. The UI CPCRN as one of these eight centers has produced a supplemental issue of Preventive Medicine with 12 articles that examine stakeholder-engaged implementation science and population approaches to improve equity in cancer prevention and control. The research findings reported in the supplement investigate factors at the level of the patient, community, health care provider, health care system, and the wider socio-political context.

The supplemental issue represents a diversity of collaborative research products made possible by the research and scientific networking infrastructure enabled by the CPCRN, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since 2002. For the 2014-2019 funding cycle, the CPCRN member centers included cancer investigators at Case Western Reserve University, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, and University of Washington. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s PRC, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, hosts the network’s coordinating center.

“In this supplemental issue said Jennifer Leeman, a guest editor on the issue and principal investigator of the University of North Carolina CPCRN collaborating center, these articles report findings that will aid public health practitioners, policymakers, and others as they design and implement interventions to reduce the burden of cancer in underserved communities.”

Iowa’s researchers contributed by presenting a conceptual framework to guide future research to reduce rural disparities.  Population-based surveys provide important information about cancer-related behaviors across the cancer care continuum, from prevention to survivorship, to inform cancer control efforts. These surveys can illuminate cancer disparities in specific populations, including rural communities. However, due to small rural sample sizes, varying sampling methods, and/or other study design or analytical concerns, there are challenges in using population-based surveys for rural cancer control research and practice. The researchers concluded from their assessment of studies that 1) rural-urban variables are not always readily accessible for non-federal researchers; 2) there is broad inconsistency in defining rural; 3) frequently, sample sizes are insufficient to examine rural-urban disparities. Dr. Askelson said they urged federal agencies to make geocoded data more accessible to all researchers and moving forward, national surveys need to use sampling methods that include more rural populations.

The supplement has been published open access by Elsevier, and the full issue is available for download. Iowa’s article included in the supplement can be individually downloaded by following the link below:

These publications are a product of the Prevention Research Centers Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in these publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institute of Health. The Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network is funded through Cooperative Agreements [3 U48 DP005013-01S1A3, 3 U48 DP005000-01S2, 3 U48 DP005053-01S1, 3 U48 DP005017-01S8, 3 U48 DP005006-01S3, 3 U48 DP005030-01S5, 3 U48 DP005021-01S4, 3 U48 DP005014-01S2] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute.