Peer Mentors Promoting Breast Cancer Clinical Research

Institution: Long Beach Memorial Medical Center
Investigator(s): Michele Rakoff,  - John Link, M.D. - Annette Maxwell, DrPH -
Award Cycle: 2004 (Cycle 10) Grant #: 10AB-2300 Award: $47,710
Award Type: CRC Pilot Award
Research Priorities
Community Impact of Breast Cancer>Sociocultural, Behavioral, and Psychological Issues: the human side

This is a collaboration with: 10AB-2301 -

Initial Award Abstract (2004)
Clinical trials are a mechanism for testing new cancer therapies and at the same time, providing opportunities for patients with cancer to obtain state-of-the-art treatment. However, only a small fraction of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial. Patient barriers to enrollment include confusion about study procedures, misconceptions regarding the trials, and misunderstandings of research versus standard medical care. A Clinical Research Mentoring (CRM) program that is developed with significant input from breast cancer survivors can assist newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in deciding whether or not to join a treatment trial and will lead to increased recruitment to breast cancer clinical trials.

First we will interview breast cancer survivors to explore why some decide to join a clinical trial and why others decline. We will also discuss with several groups of breast cancer survivors what might have helped them to make their decision. Based on what we have learned, we will then design a training program and a multi-disciplinary team will train 10 breast cancer survivors as CRMs. We will match newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with CRMs and assess how many will join a clinical trial, and how the CRM program influences knowledge and attitudes of these patients.

This study is innovative because the concept of utilizing peer educators who have successfully been used to change various health behaviors is applied to a new area: Participation in breast cancer clinical trials. In addition, our research collaboration is innovative, with a clinical partner, a community partner and a partner with expertise in research methodology. Finally, we see our study as a step toward creating a new culture in the breast cancer treatment environment, where patients become partners with doctors to move forward breast cancer research.


Final Report (2015)

Clinical trials are a mechanism for testing new cancer therapies and at the same time, providing opportunities for patients with cancer to obtain state-of-the-art treatment. However, only a small fraction of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial. Patient barriers to enrollment include confusion about study procedures, misconceptions regarding the trials, and misunderstandings of research versus standard medical care. The goal of this study is to (1) develop a Clinical Research Mentoring (CRM) program that can assist newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in deciding whether or not to join a treatment trial; and (2) to pilot test the program with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who are eligible to join a clinical trial offered by Memorial Care Breast Cancer Research Group. The first specific aim of the study was to develop a training program for breast cancer survivors who have participated in a clinical trial and are willing to serve as peer mentors to promote breast cancer clinical research. Based on one-to-one interviews with breast cancer survivors who participated in a clinical trial, input received in a focus group with breast cancer survivors, and clinical trial information available through the Cancer Information Service and other sources, we developed a one-day training program. The curriculum included grant and CRM program overview, clinical trials education, overview of the clinical trials in this study, developing listening skills, and role-play and completion of log sheets.

The second specific aim was to train a group of ten breast cancer survivors to become Clinical Research Mentors. We conducted a one-day training on March 5, 2005 at Long Beach Memorial Medical center. Teaching faculty included Michele Rakoff, Breast Friends; Annette Maxwell, DrPH, UCLA; John Link, MD, Breastlink; Jacqueline Hilger,MS,CCRP, Breastlink; Zul Sarani, Cancer Information Service; and Dorothy Mitchell, CA. State University Long Beach. A total of 10 breast cancer survivors received the training, completed a pre- and post-test and obtained human subject certification from UCLA.

The third specific aim was to pilot test the CRM program by matching newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with CRMs. However, the two clinical studies that we had planned to use for this phase were closed and no new suitable trials became available. Therefore, we were not able to complete aim 3.




Symposium Abstract (2005)
Clinical trials are a mechanism for testing new cancer therapies and at the same time providing opportunities for patients with cancer to obtain state-of-the-art treatment. However, only a small percentage of women with breast cancer who are eligible to participate actually enroll. Patient barriers to enrollment include confusion about study procedures, misconceptions regarding the trials and misunderstandings of research versus standard medical care.

Initiated in 1997, Breast Friends, a peer-support-mentoring program for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, has trained 100 breast cancer survivor/advocates who mentor newly diagnosed breast cancer patients both locally and nationally.

Breast Friends and Breastlink Medical Group, in collaboration with the UCLA School of Public Health and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, are conducting a pilot study to investigate if this model can be used to increase recruitment of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients into clinical trials.

The primary goal is to increase trial accrual. Secondary goals are to increase patientsí knowledge about clinical trials, to assist in the decision making process, and to improve patientsí attitudes regarding clinical trials.

Specific aims of this study are to: 1) develop a training program for breast cancer survivors who have participated in a clinical trial and are willing to serve as peer mentors to promote breast cancer clinical research 2) train a group of 10 breast cancer survivors to become Clinical Research Mentors (CRMs) 3) pilot-test the CRM program by matching CRMs with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients who are eligible to join a clinical trial offered by Breastlink Medical Group.

If we can design an intervention to increase participation of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in clinical treatment trials, our products (training curriculum, materials, protocol) could be used by other clinics to increase accrual.

Potential benefits for: 1)community - includes support by a trained peer during the decision-making process on clinical trial participation, which may result in increased knowledge of pros and cons of clinical trials, and more satisfaction/less regrets with the final decision that was made 2)research- includes increased accrual, retention and adherence to breast cancer clinical trials, which are crucial for developing new and better therapies, which in turn benefits patients.

Program: Training Advocates as Peer Mentors to Promote Breast Cancer Clinical Research
Periodical:Health Education & Behavior
Index Medicus: Health Ed & Behavior
Authors:
Yr: 2007 Vol: 34 Nbr: Abs: Pg:841