Sat, 10/22/2016 - 8:00 AM | by Tiffany Kerrigan

Identifying the Impact of Social-Environmental Challenges on Treatment and Satisfaction with Care in African American Breast Cancer Patients


While the overall incidence of breast cancer in African American women is lower than in White women, their mortality rates are 40% higher.  These disparities have widened over the past 30 years, highlighting the need to investigate the reasons behind this urgently and in new ways.  We are trying to understand this better by exploring women’s experiences during their treatment.  Studies of African American breast cancer survivors suggest the need to examine factors within the medical care system and the everyday lives of these women.



Funded by: Walther Cancer Foundation

Principal Investigator: Silvia Bigatti, Ph.D. from the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI

Community Partners: Little Red Door Cancer Agency, Black Nurses Association, Susan G. Komen and its partners

We are actively working to enroll 38 African American women who are recently-diagnosed with breast cancer to participate in the research study.

The study aims to collect real-time information from participants.  The research team designed an easy-to-use, 5-minute weekly patient survey that captures patients’ experiences with life, family, work, general needs, emotional health, physical health, social support, cancer care and communication, and treatment.  The survey is delivered on a weekly basis to all participants.  Additionally, a one-time final phone interview with participants will examine specific barriers experienced and participants’ satisfaction with care and further explore social, economic, and environmental influences on their cancer treatment.

It is with these surveys and interviews that we aim to better understand what challenges African American women experience during their treatment in all areas of their life and how these experiences shape their treatment.  We hope that the results of this study can inform future changes in breast cancer treatment and influence the development of appropriate interventions that will improve the breast cancer treatment experience for African American women and lead to improved treatment outcomes.

If you want to see if you’re a good match for this study, please click here.