Skip to main content

Coordinating Cancer Catchment Area Surveys to Estimate Health Information Access: The Case of Virginia

National Cancer Institute awarded funding to 29 NCI-designated cancer centers in 2016 and 2018 to survey the populations in its catchment area using HINTS (Health Information National Trends Survey) questions, with UVA and VCU both receiving awards in 2018. Since UVA’s and VCU’s catchment areas cover most of the state, researchers at the UVA and VCU cancer centers wanted to know whether combining the UVA and VCU data would generate an accurate state-wide reflection of beliefs and behaviors toward Cancer. The counties that fall outside of the two universities’ catchment areas were split between UVA and VCU and also surveyed. UVA and VCU coordinated the questions and language of their surveys and both used both probability and non-probability sampling, though only the probability results were compared in the AAPOR presentation. UVA received 601 completed surveys and VCU received 895 out of 2,380 and 6,000 surveys sent out, respectively.  


A map of Virginia showing the VCU and UVA catchment areas.

The teams found several statistically significant deviations between the combined UVA-VCU data and the Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) responses. Notably, the study found higher levels of cancer screening among the UVA-VCU sample than BRFSS. There were also statistically significant differences between the two populations’ use of the online medical records system and statistically significant differences in perceptions of causes of cancer and effectiveness of preventative measures. Researchers identified the fact that their sponsors were Cancer centers as a potential bias that might have produced higher levels of cancer awareness among their sample size. The report outlines the specific differences in detail.

For the full presentation, download the file below.

A bar chart indicating female respondents in the VCU-UVA survey and BRFSS survey who have had a mammogram before.

AAPOR 2020 presentation: Coordinating Independent Cancer Catchment Area Surveys_presentation