Background: We evaluated the efficacy of a Chicago-based cancer patient navigation program developed to increase the proportion of patients reaching diagnostic resolution and reduce the time from abnormal screening test to definitive diagnostic resolution. Methods: Women with an abnormal breast (n = 352) or cervical (n = 545) cancer screening test were recruited for the quasi-experimental study. Navigation subjects originated from five federally qualified health center sites and one safety net hospital. Records-based concurrent control subjects were selected from 20 sites. Control sites had similar characteristics to the navigated sites in terms of patient volume, racial/ethnic composition, and payor mix. Mixed-effects logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were conducted to compare navigation and control patients reaching diagnostic resolution by 60 days and time to resolution, adjusting for demographic covariates and site. Results: Compared with controls, the breast navigation group had shorter time to diagnostic resolution (aHR = 1.65, CI = 1.20-2.28) and the cervical navigation group had shorter time to diagnostic resolution for those who resolved after 30 days (aHR = 2.31, CI = 1.75-3.06), with no difference before 30 days (aHR = 1.42, CI = 0.83-2.43). Variables significantly associated with longer time to resolution for breast cancer screening abnormalities were being older, never partnered, abnormal mammogram and BI-RADS 3, and being younger and Black for cervical abnormalities. Conclusions: Patient navigation reduces time from abnormal cancer finding to definitive diagnosis in underserved women. Impact: Results support efforts to use patient navigation as a strategy to reduce cancer disparities among socioeconomically disadvantaged women.
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