Grant funding supports outreach to increase access and care for African American cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients in the Lowcountry

Dr. Brian Greenwell with patient
Dr. Brian Greenwell speaks with his patient.

Minority populations including African Americans are disproportionately impacted by missed or delayed diagnosis of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Hollings Cancer Center (HCC), the state’s only NCI-designated cancer center, has the only dedicated cutaneous lymphoma multidisciplinary clinic staffed by dermatology and medical oncology faculty. The South Carolina lowcountry also has a disproportionate number of counties with large African American populations in rural areas with suboptimal access to local medical care. This uniquely positions MUSC Hollings Cancer Center to provide outreach and high-quality care with CTCL-specific expertise to populations in these counties.

Hollings oncologist Brian Greenwell, M.D. recently received grant funding from Kyowa Kirin to support the multidisciplinary cutaneous lymphoma clinic. This has resulted in:

  • Dedicated advanced practice provider (APP) support for patient care
  • Implementation of a remote oral therapy monitoring and titration program so that patients don’t have to come to MUSC as frequently
  • Expansion of the cutaneous lymphoma clinic from once monthly to twice monthly due to patient volumes

Additionally, this has provided opportunities to collaborate with Emory University and other leading CTCL institutions across the United States to study outcomes in African Americans with CTCL.

Addressing the Need:

  • Hollings patients come from every county in South Carolina.
  • 75% of South Carolina's counties include rural areas. Potential barriers to care for rural residents include transportation issues, distance to specialty care sites, and access to clinical trials.
  • South Carolina has a much higher percentage of black Americans than the average U.S. state, with black residents accounting for 27.1% of all state residents. Black people have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group for most cancers in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
  • More than 15% of South Carolinians fall below the poverty level, which is higher than the national average. Poverty is associated with worse cancer outcomes and a higher risk of death.

Outreach impact map.