Socially determined cervical cancer care navigation: An effective step toward health care equity and care optimization

Kimberly Dessources, Anjali Hari, Elizabeth Pineda, Malaika W. Amneus, Abdulrahman K. Sinno, Christine H. Holschneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Despite being the standard of care for patients with locoregional cervical cancer, many patients do not complete all components of primary chemoradiotherapy (pCRT): external beam radiotherapy, chemosensitization, and brachytherapy. Incomplete or protracted pCRT is associated with worse survival. The authors implemented a socially determined cervical cancer care navigation program at a public safety-net hospital to improve treatment adherence. Methods: Patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IB1 to IVA cervical cancer who underwent pCRT from 2012 to 2016 were prospectively enrolled into this navigation program spanning the medical, financial, and psychosocial aspects of care. This patient cohort was compared with a similar cohort of consecutive nonnavigated patients who were treated from 1998 to 2008. Patient characteristics, treatment data, and patient outcomes were collected. A database of navigation encounters was maintained prospectively. Results: A total of 46 patients composed the navigated cohort and 85 patients composed the nonnavigated cohort. After implementation of the cervical cancer care navigation program, the percentage of patients receiving ≥5 cycles of weekly cisplatin increased from 74% to 93% (P <.01) and rates of the initiation of brachytherapy during external beam radiotherapy increased from 49% to 78% (P <.01). The median treatment time was reduced from 67 days in the nonnavigated patients to 55 days in the navigated patients (P <.01). Approximately 95% of navigated patients who completed pCRT did so within 63 days, compared with 52% of nonnavigated patients (P <.01). Treatment completion within 63 days was associated with significantly improved overall survival. Conclusions: Socially informed cervical cancer care navigation can significantly improve the timeliness of guideline-based care, enhance access to resources for underserved minority patients receiving pCRT, and may improve overall patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5060-5068
Number of pages9
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer care navigation
  • cervical cancer
  • patient navigation
  • socially determined care
  • underserved

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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