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Study explored Mexican patients with advanced cancers; results published in The Oncologist

BOSTONApril 26, 2021PRLog — Global Cancer Institute (http://globalcancerinstitute.org/) (GCI), which is focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide, announced today the results of a new study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33210345/) recently published in The Oncologist on the effectiveness of patient navigation programs for palliative care in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). This research was previously presented in an oral abstract session at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting.

The study, titled, “Patient Navigation to Improve Early Access to Supportive Care for Patients with Advanced Cancer in Resource-Limited Settings: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” explored how early integration of supportive care in oncology improves patient-centered outcomes. Specifically, the authors evaluated whether patient navigation increased access to multidisciplinary supportive care among Mexican patients with advanced cancer treated at the Salvador Zubirán National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition (INCMNSZ) in Mexico City.

Palliative care is crucial to improving quality of life for patients suffering from advanced cancer. However, 80 percent of these patients live in LMICs where palliative care is rarely provided, or provided only at a very late stage.

Patient navigators can assist patients in overcoming barriers to care. The Global Cancer Institute has been a huge proponent of Patient Navigation programs for assisting cancer patients with entering treatment in LMICs, and helped design and provided funding for this study exploring the role patient navigation can play in improving access to palliative care as well.

134 patients were randomized: 67 to patient navigation and 67 to usual care. Supportive care interventions were provided to 74% of patients in the patient navigation arm versus 24% in usual care. Results:

–        In the patient navigation arm, 48% of eligible patients completed advance directives, compared with 0% in usual care.

–        At 12 weeks, patients randomized to patient navigation had less moderate/severe pain (10% vs. 33%), without differences in quality of life.

Dr. Enrique Soto-Perez-De-Celis and Dr. Yanin Chávarri-Guerra, Researchers in Medical Sciences at INCMNSZ and collaborators of the Global Cancer Institute, the principal authors of the study, believe that this easily replicable program – involving just one additional staff member plus a new model of supportive care team coordination – can make a big difference in the quality of care patients receive. “The data shows that early access to supportive and palliative care interventions helps increase advance care planning and reduce symptoms as compared with the usual oncologist-guided care alone,” said Dr. Soto-Perez-De-Celis. “The results demonstrate that patient navigation represents a potentially useful solution to achieving implementation of supportive and palliative care in resource-limited settings globally,” added Dr. Chávarri-Guerra.

Read the study here (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33210345/).

About Global Cancer Institute

Global Cancer Institute (GCI) is focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide. Today, cancer death rates in developing countries are double those in the U.S. – GCI is working to close that gap. GCI works directly with physicians in developing countries to propagate simple interventions and treatments that are common in the U.S today, and proven to accelerate diagnosis, access and treatment. Learn more about our programs at http://globalcancerinstitute.org/.