Varley Awarded Research Grant from the American Cancer Society and UW Carbone Cancer Center

Division of Surgical Oncology Assistant Professor Patrick Varley, MD, MS, was recently awarded a one-year, $60,000 Institutional Research Grant that is jointly funded by the American Cancer Society and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. The award provides funding for a pilot study evaluating the effect of residential neighborhood disparities on colorectal cancer outcomes within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system.

“We know from previous research that patients living in neighborhoods that lack social and economic resources are at risk for disparate cancer-related treatment and outcomes,” said Varley. “What we don’t know is why neighborhood disparities would affect patient outcomes in this way and what we could potentially do to address them.”

Using national-level data from the VHA, Dr. Varley plans to evaluate two key factors that are critical in the treatment of colorectal cancer: timely treatment and access to coordinated care.

“We’re interested in whether Veterans living in disadvantaged neighborhoods and treated at VHA medical centers experience treatment delays after they are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. We’ll also be looking at whether access to medical facilities that are rated highly in care coordination—as measured by health experience surveys—mitigates the impact of neighborhood disparities on delayed treatment,” Varley explained.

The results of this study will provide important preliminary data regarding the importance of care coordination strategies in mitigating colorectal cancer treatment disparities. Dr. Varley plans to use this data to support future research that will adapt and apply these strategies for patients who are living in disadvantaged neighborhoods.