MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention and Control recently established a partnership with the Patient Advocate Foundation in Hampton, Virginia, to address lung cancer disparities in West Virginia.
The overall goal is to decrease lung cancer mortality and improve early diagnosis of lung cancer. This partnership was made possible by a three-year grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer CareTM initiative. The initiative is a part of a national strategy to promote health equity and improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases and conditions. Specifically, the Foundation’s lung cancer program focuses on access to cancer education, prevention and early detection, treatment, and psychosocial support services.
“Lung cancer continues to be the deadliest, yet most preventable cancer out there,” Shonta Chambers, executive vice president of health equity at the Patient Advocate Foundation, said. “We believe that by taking a fully integrated, preventive patient approach, including linkages to tobacco cessation supports, we’ll see a shift in health disparities. We are excited about this new partnership with the WVU Cancer Institute and other partners across West Virginia that are a part of this initiative.”
According to the West Virginia Cancer Registry and Health Statistics Center:
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in West Virginia and the second leading cause of death overall, exceeded only by heart disease.
- West Virginia has a higher rate of lung cancer than the nation as a whole.
- Nearly one in three of all cancer deaths in West Virginia are from lung cancer.
- Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and women combined, with an average of 2,010 new cases diagnosed each year.
The major aim of the West Virginia Lung Cancer Program is to increase lung cancer screening among low-income and limited-resourced individuals across the Mountain State. This will be accomplished by a combination of comprehensive and coordinated provider outreach and engagement, public education and outreach, case management support, and evaluation.
The program will navigate Medicaid Managed Care beneficiaries to lung cancer screening and, where appropriate, to lung cancer diagnosis and referral to cessation services. Those experiencing additional social and financial barriers will be linked to a Patient Advocate Foundation case management team for sustained case management support throughout the treatment process.
As a part of the program’s evaluation activities, tobacco users will be assessed to identify their preferred cessation modality when offered a comprehensive list of tobacco cessation options. The data from this assessment will be used to better customize tobacco cessation recommendations for the intended population.
“Partnerships like this one with the Patient Advocate Foundation allow us a unique opportunity to address West Virginia’s number one cancer issue: lung cancer. This project enables us to educate the public and providers about lung cancer screening, while conducting a pilot project that navigates people to screening services and allows us to conduct a population-based study on preferred cessation methods,” Stephenie Kennedy, Ed.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention and Control said. “For the work we do, this is like Christmas in June.”
For additional information, contact Cancer Prevention and Control at 304-293-2370.