Funded in partnership with Miami Dolphins Foundation
Liver cancer is deadly. Hepatocellular Carcinoma, or HCC, is the most common type of liver cancer. There are significant racial differences (disparities) in how long people with HCC survive. Black people with liver cancer do not live as long as White people. Also, Black patients are less likely to receive treatment. Previous studies have been unable to explain why these differences exist. We started a research study to learn about various factors that might contribute to these disparities. When we approach patients to participate, many say that they are too overwhelmed. Some patients do not understand what is happening when they are first diagnosed. In this study, we will ask patients and caregivers what needs we might be able to help with. We will also ask healthcare staff and patient advocates to identify what needs patients have. Together with patients, caregivers, advocates and medical staff, we will create a program that helps high-risk patients to navigate the health care system and provides extra support to the patients who need it most. This study is unique because we will train lay people to work as navigators, rather than nurses. By building a relationship between the patient and navigator, we will be better able to meet our patients’ needs. We expect this program to increase the number of patients that come to their appointments and get cancer treatment. This program may increase patients’ willingness to participate in research studies, which could dramatically improve our ability to understand and eliminate disparities in survival.