UVA Cancer Center wants to learn more about barriers to care

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The University of Virginia Cancer Center wants to hear from the people it serves to help identify and overcome barriers to getting cancer care.

The center is getting ready to collect opinion from people in 94 localities where it serves some 80 percent of its patients.

According to a release, UVA wants to put particular emphasis on reaching people who are often under-represented in surveys, including rural residents, low-income residents, minorities, and people between the ages of 25 and 45.

"The goal of this assessment is to better understand the needs of residents in the Commonwealth, so the UVA Cancer Center can provide targeted and expert cancer prevention, cancer-risk reduction and quality services to cancer survivors," said Wendy Cohn, PhD, the associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the center. "This will benefit our patients, families and residents of the Commonwealth because we will be able to provide programs and services that are uniquely tailored to patients. We will be better able to respond to the needs and preferences of our patients by providing timely and evidence-based programs to those who need them."

The release says the research team will be asking about topics such as barriers to care, residents' use of technology, cancer screening and prevention behaviors, and attitudes toward genetic testing and medical research.

The survey will involve phone calls and mailings, but it also aims to reach others by launching a social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

The UVA Cancer Center's leaders want to get feedback from at least 2,000 people that they can then use to improve how the center serves patients and come up with solutions to problems that prevent people from getting the best care.

The release says these results could lead to new medical interventions, or inform policy changes to improve public health, increase cancer prevention efforts and enhance cancer care.

This survey is being conducted thanks to an initiative from the National Cancer Institute. It should begin in the coming weeks.

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