Community perspectives on the accessibility and relevance of research evidence on dietary supplements for cancer

Session Type
Understanding and using evidence
Bowden B1, Wieland LS1
1University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA

Background: The use of dietary interventions and supplements for cancer is common. Results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews (SRs) about supplements are disseminated widely through social media and the press, however the effectiveness of this dissemination among members of underserved communities is unknown. For Black Americans, historic mistreatment in the medical system, disparities in health information access, and alienation from traditional research communities may contribute to lack of awareness of research evidence on dietary supplements and other dietary interventions for cancer. Black Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group for most cancers. Exploring the attitudes and barriers to accessing research evidence among Black Americans can help inform targeted interventions to educate, empower and improve research access and uptake, empowering Black patients to take charge of their own health and improve cancer outcomes. Objective: The main objective is to understand the accessibility and relevance of systematic research evidence about dietary supplements in the prevention and treatment of cancer among Black communities.
Methods: We conducted two online guided discussions on research evidence with community members in 2023. We are using qualitative methods to discover themes surrounding barriers, tools and resources that affect access to and uptake of research evidence.
Results: The project will qualitatively assess whether evidence is being chosen, packaged, and conveyed appropriately for this community. The long-term goal of this project is to improve accessibility and relevance to underserved communities. Feedback from this investigation will be used to guide the development and evaluation of community-led dissemination products. Conclusion: This contribution will improve equity in the dissemination of research evidence on integrative interventions across multiple conditions.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: We engaged community members in qualitative interviews and are using their input to understand community awareness about research evidence, with the goal of enhancing the accessibility, relevance, and impact of SR and RCT evidence. We view this as a key opportunity to engage Black communities in research.