Education is a key component of the Georgia Cancer Center’s mission to reduce the
burden of cancer in Georgia. This is why the Georgia Cancer Center's cancer-Community
Awareness & Access Research Education (c-CARE) project was created in 2015 thanks
to a three-year $1.74M grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMS Foundation).
Dr. Martha S. Tingen, principal investigator of the c-CARE program, received permission
from the BMS Foundation that allowed the program to be expanded to rural counties
and enroll additional participants in communities outside of Augusta-Richmond County.
A total of 586 participants, 481 urban and 105 rural enrolled in the research study.
A total of 61 Community Health Workers (CHWs) were trained from the respective sites
(faith-based organizations, federally-qualified health centers, etc.).
Samantha J. Sojourner, PhD
1410 Laney Walker Blvd., CN-2155
Augusta, GA 30912
How the Program Works
The program works with minority and underserved populations in both urban and rural
communities to improve cancer outcomes. To do this, the c-CARE team partner with churches,
medical clinics and recreation centers in those communities to provide education to
individuals and families.
Members of the c-CARE program team in collaboration with the respective site’s leadership
identified community healthcare workers (CHWs) at the churches, medical clinics and
recreational centers and trained them to be the facilitators of the educational modules
to be delivered to their respective sites. Then, those community health workers share
the information they learned with their congregations, their patients and those using
the recreational centers.
These modules focus on what cancer is in general, prevention of cancer, early detection
through screening, healthy behavior choices that can decrease the risk of getting
cancer, available community resources, how to implement a healthy policy change (i.e.
creating a smoke-free environment), and navigation to propoer screenings and care
if needed. For this first study, lung cancer was the primary focus.
Before the education session begins, an investigator measures each participant’s knowledge,
attitudes, and beliefs about cancer. Then, the same survey is given after the four
educational sessions have been completed. This allows the c-CARE team to see what
impact the education seminars had for each person.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends low-dose CT (LDCT) scans to detect
lung cancer in high risk individuals. c-CARE provides an excellent platform for coalescing
healthcare providers, community organizations, government leaders and other key stakeholders
that share common goals with respect to lung cancer incidence, mortality, morbidity
and survivorship. Those enrolled in the c-CARE program and who meet eligibility criteria
for participating in lung cancer screening through obtaining a LDCT scan, are navigated
to this important screening for lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Awareness
Lung cancer is particularly lethal, causing more deaths than any other cancer among
men and women of all races and ethnicities throughout the nation.
Within the c-CARE education modules, CHWs are trained to present current information
about lung cancer prevention, guidelines for early detection and new treatment options.
Among the resources that will be most helpful are those that are able to provide free
and low-cost cancer-related services (prevention, early detection, treatment, surveillance),
supplemental educational materials, and other forms of programmatic support. In addition
to working with community clinics, many of which are co-located in or affiliated
with local churches, c‐CARE leverages valuable resources available from the American
Cancer Society, the Lung Cancer Alliance, and other non-profit organizations.
Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use
Smoking and other forms of tobacco use are high in the Central Savannah River Area,
as is the burden of lung cancer. At each c‐CARE community site, in addition to providing
an educational intervention using a “train-the-trainer” model, we worked with the
pastors or administrators to implement a permanent Tobacco-Free policy that encompasses
parking lots and green spaces as well as inside the buildings.
The primary target population for the c-CARE lung cancer module is adult African
American smokers and former smokers whose historical level of smoking combined with
other potential lung cancer risk factors often makes them eligible for lung cancer
screening. If the participants want help to stop their use of tobacco and/or e-cigarettes,
they will receive assistance to sign up for the Georgia Cancer Center’s Tobacco Cessation
Researchers at the Georgia Cancer Center are taking the fight to rural Georgia communities with the extension of a program grant that provides smoking cessation and prevention services to African-American communities in partnership with area churches.
The Georgia Cancer Center and the c-CARE Initiative are collaborating with the General Missionary Baptist Convention (GMBC) of Georgia’s Tenth District to share information about cancer disparities, cancer prevention, early detection, clinical trials, care navigation, and other resources available with our community at large.
The new leader of the cancer Community Awareness Access Research and Education initiative at the Georgia Cancer Center wants to reach even more people.
With an estimated 8.8 million potential global deaths from cancer, the Georgia Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society are working to make cancer a health priority.