New cancer study for East Texans is helping spread awareness

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Cancer research is generally geared toward the health professional or other researchers.

Cancer research in the laboratory can take years, even decades, to reach the general public.

In addition, very selected populations are generally studied. The work will be beneficial, but oncologist Dr. Kathryn Lewis knows it won't have an immediate impact for today's cancer patient.

"A lot of times that information is extra difficult for the public to understand, let alone, some times even the doctor," said Dr. Lewis.

Mark Scott, director of the Piney Woods Area Health Education Center is helping get the word out of a new way of sharing information.

It's called comparative effectiveness research now being used to study cancer in Texas, CERCIT for short.

"Research projects are in place to help deter the quality of cancer care that Texans are receiving, as well as identify areas of care that might be substandard that lead to poor outcomes," said Scott.

CIRCIT wants to use real patients under real life conditions to find out what works and doesn't work when treating clinical cancer.

"Some of those things might be identifying follow-up visits with the patients or preventative screenings, as well as survivor support programs that are in place," said Scott.

The ability to compare different approaches helps cancer patients with important decisions.

"It is very important for patients to understand that they do have a choice and try to make the best choice," said Dr. Lewis.

The funded programs are used on a daily basis in clinics throughout East Texas, but if they're not working or not being utilized there is no benefit to anyone.

Piney Woods AHEC is applying for a cancer screening grant through the cancer prevention and research institute.

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