Introduction: Quantitative approaches to the cancer incidence and mortality of a geographic region may lack understanding of the human context in the region thereby affecting how relevant cancer prevention and control activities can best be targeted to a cancer center's catchment area.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to obtain and analyze qualitative data that described the barriers and facilitators in a cancer center's catchment area. A further objective was to use the assessment to plan a comprehensive approach to cancer prevention and control activities in the region.
Methods: Extensive qualitative data were gathered from 32 key informants in the 13 county catchment area. We used the Warnecke Model for Analysis of Population Health and Health Disparities to analyze the qualitative data. We coded factors affecting cancer prevention and control using a directed content analysis approach guided by the Warnecke Model.
Results: Four outcome types included fundamental barriers such as political environment and discrimination, gaps in resources, and lack of coordinated activities. Social and physical barriers included distrust, diverse language and cultures, and geographic distance. Individual barriers included lack of system negotiation, health literacy, and poverty. Biological barriers were disparate disease rates in specific groups.
Conclusion: The analysis and assessment led to the creation of a catchment area wide coalition that used the results to formulate a comprehensive strategic plan to address the barriers in the region.
Keywords: cancer control; cancer prevention; catchment area; qualitative needs assessment.