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Survivor Stories: Impact on Cancer Patients’ Quality of life and Follow-up Care

KEY QUESTION
Do survivor stories, as told by African-American breast cancer survivors, affect key aspects of quality of life and/or adherence to recommended surveillance mammography and prescribed endocrine therapy in newly diagnosed African-American women with breast cancer? 

REACH
Disparities in incidence and mortality between African Americans and Caucasians for a number of cancers have been well documented. We believe that breast cancer patients can draw support from different sources, including other women who have survived breast cancer. In a randomized trial, we are testing an innovative cancer communication strategy. We created a searchable library of almost 300 short, videotaped stories told by local African-American breast cancer survivors. Study participants access these stories using a video player. Topics in the survivor stories include coping with a breast cancer diagnosis, health-care experiences, social support, follow-up care, and quality of life. 

EFFECTIVENESS
Recruitment began in December 2009. As of August 31, 2011, we have recruited 115 (52% of our target sample size: participation rate 61%) African-American women to our study with an overall retention rate of 95%. After a two-year follow-up with each participant, we will examine whether the survivor stories affect quality of life and patients' adherence to recommended treatment guidelines and follow-up care.

Recruitment will complete in December 2012. We have successfully recruited 226 newly diagnosed African-American women to our study (participation rate 62%) with retention at each follow-up interview ≥ 94%. After a two-year follow-up with each participant, we will examine whether the survivor stories affect quality of life and patients' adherence to recommended treatment guidelines and follow-up care. 

CONNECTIONS
Our study is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Washington University’s School of Medicine. With the assistance of physicians at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine and at Saint Louis University School of Medicine we will recruit 220 newly diagnosed African-American breast cancer patients and conduct five interviews with each participant over two years​​​
 


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