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Evaluation of approaches to recruitment of racially and ethnically diverse breast cancer patients from an integrated health care setting for collection of observational social network data

We compared approaches to recruitment of diverse women with breast cancer in a study designed to collect complex social network data. We recruited 440 women from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California population newly diagnosed with breast cancer, either in person at a clinic, by email, or by mailed letter. In clinic and mail recruitment, women completed a brief 3-page paper survey (epidemiologic data only), and women had the option to complete a separate, longer (30-40 min) personal social network survey online. In email recruitment, we administered epidemiologic and personal social network measures together in a single online survey. In email and mail recruitment, we limited the sample of non-Hispanic white (NHW) women to 30% of their total. We used descriptive analysis and multinomial logistic regression to examine odds of recruitment vs. mailed letter. Women responded to the social network surveys on average 3.7 months post-diagnosis. Mean age was 59.3 (median = 61.0). In-person clinic recruitment was superior with a 52.1% success rate of recruitment compared with 35.6% by mail or 17.3% by email (χ2 = 65.9, p < 0.001). Email recruitment produced the highest completion rate (82.1%) of personal network data compared with clinic (36.5%) or mail (28.7%), (χ2 = 114.6, p < 0.001). Despite intentional undersampling of NHW patients, response rates for Asian, Hispanic, and Black women by email were lower. However, we found no significant differences in recruitment rates by race and ethnicity for face-to-face clinic recruitment vs. by letter. Letter recruitment produced the highest overall response. Mailed letter was the best approach to representative recruitment of diverse women with breast cancer and collection of social network data, and further yielded the highest absolute response.

Authors: Kroenke, Candyce H;Kurtovich, Elaine;Aoki, Rhonda;Shim, Veronica C;Chan, Tracy D;Brenman, Leslie Manace;Bethard-Tracy, Jane;Adams, Alyce S;Kennedy, David P

Cancer Causes Control. 2023 Aug;34(8):705-713. Epub 2023-05-05.

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