Background: Advances in prevention, detection, and treatment of breast and lung cancer have decreased incidence and mortality rates but have not benefited all populations equally. In Wisconsin, the disparity in lung cancer mortality rates between Black and White residents is the second largest in the nation, and disparities in breast cancer incidence have significantly worsened in the past decade. To address the complex etiology behind these disparities, the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment assembled a racially and ethnically diverse multidisciplinary team to inform efforts to reduce cancer disparities in Wisconsin.
Methods: Our panel of eight experts, along with a program facilitator, met biweekly for 15 months. Members had broad expertise in diverse communities, public health, behavioral science, health geography, molecular biology and clinical care. The team had not previously collaborated together. The team's objectives were to (1) gain a contextualized understanding of the molecular, genetic, socioeconomic, and behavioral factors contributing to cancer disparities, as well as barriers and promoters to these discoveries; (2) identify relevant issues on which to focus future efforts; and (3) facilitate the creation of collaborative work groups to develop and implement innovative strategies to address cancer disparities statewide.
Results: At the conclusion, team efforts included: (1) creating statewide maps reflecting breast and lung cancer incidence, late-stage diagnosis, and mortality, as well as potential socioeconomic contributors to disparities; (2) reviewing literature on efforts reducing cancer disparities; (3) completing a root cause analysis of cultural, socioeconomic, and genetic contributors; (4) identifying and assessing focused topics for further study; and (5) designing a comprehensive framework to guide the work of collaborative, cross-sector teams on prioritized topics. An additional and notable result was feedback from team members that participation in the group challenged them to reimagine cross-disciplinary collaboration and consider how to engage diverse backgrounds and perspectives in future cancer-disparities work.
Conclusions and Future Directions: The resulting topics and framework will direct the funding and formation of collaborative, cross-sector work groups to (1) think beyond their expertise; (2) create, adapt, or adopt collaborative strategies for addressing complex health problems; and (3) develop, test, and evaluate initiatives to address breast and lung cancer disparities in incidence, late-stage diagnosis, and mortality.
Citation Format: Melinda R. Stolley, Tobi Anne Cawthra, Jessica Olson, Sandra Millon-Underwood, Kirsten Beyer, David Fraser, Lyle Ignace, Laura Pinsoneault, Jose Salazar, Alonzo Walker, Carol Williams, Cheryl Maurana. Results from a cross-sector collaboration: Understanding contributors to breast and lung cancer disparities and creating novel approaches to reduce impact [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2018 Nov 2-5; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl):Abstract nr C081.