In a new study presented at the AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, Maria E. Fernandez, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, explained how telephone-based navigation programs can aid minorities, the uninsured and the impoverished:
There are many programs available to help low-income people receive health care, but they don’t always know about them. This type of collaboration has great potential to connect large numbers of medically underserved individuals to cancer control and prevention services and decrease the burden of cancer in underserved populations including the poor, ethnic minorities and rural residents.
The study found that patients receiving navigation were more likely to complete preventive screenings — such as Pap tests and colorectal screenings — and other behaviors than those who did not.
While each community poses its own unique challenges, this study suggests that even telephone-based navigation services can help underserved patient groups.