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Community-based research and Cancer Control: A Discussion with the High Plains Research Network

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We are excited about being featured on R2R this month, and hope to create a lively discussion about community perspectives and community-based research in cancer prevention and control! We want to focus on one of our responses to a question that was posed to us by the R2R team:

Why is community engagement important for cancer control?

Medical guidelines use language and concepts that are not understood by patients, making it difficult to choose the best treatment. The magnitude and nature of the work required to translate findings from human medical research into valid and effective clinical practice has been grossly underestimated and inadequately funded. Poor adoption of evidence-based recommendations may be the unintended result of the very research enterprise that creates recommendations.(1,2) The scientific jargon that facilitates earlier steps in the research process creates a significant barrier to translating evidence into community and population-based health recommendations.(5)  If patients do not fully understand the nature of the medical condition and its treatment options, they will not be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with a healthcare provider or successfully choose appropriate treatment options.(6,7) Engaging patients is essential to assure the science is relevant and the findings are meaningful to the patients they are intended to help. 

Engaging patients in all stages of medical research and translation may lead to more patient-centered outcomes from the very beginning.

Does anyone have a reaction to this that they would like to share?

We would also love to know more about your experiences (successes and challenges are great!) in community based research.

And if anyone has any questions about our work or wants to brainstorm on how to use community based research in their own projects, please do so!