Skip to main content

A $1.4 Million Grant Looks at Prostate Cancer Through a ‘Neighborhood Lens.’

Prostate Ribbon Philly Map

Where a man is born, lives and works can influence his prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survival. But which factors matter most? And what role do they all play together in how he responds to cancer treatment?


Shannon Lynch, PhD, MPH
Assistant professor in the
Cancer Prevention and Control
research program at Fox Chase

Lead investigator Shannon Lynch, PhD, MPH, aims to find out with a $1.4 million grant from the Department of Defense. Together with co-investigator Erin K. Tagai, PhD, MPH, an assistant research professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control research program, the team will take a “comprehensive approach, examining a patient’s social and economic circumstances and the neighborhood where they live, to learn how these confluent factors impact prostate cancer treatment decisions and quality of life.

Lynch will use a “neighborhood lens” to identify the social determinants that might be related to poorer quality of life and regret surrounding treatment decision-making. Tagai then will interview patients and clinicians to understand why the identified social determinants might be associated with treatment decision-making and quality of life. 

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States. Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from prostate cancer and are more likely to report decreased quality of life after they receive treatment.


Erin K. Tagai, PhD, MPH
Assistant research professor in the Fox Chase
Cancer Prevention and Control research

The study is designed in three phases. The first two phases will draw data and recruit eligible participants from Fox Chase and Temple Health clinics. Databases include Temple Health and Fox Chase contributions to the Pennsylvania Urologic Regional Collaborative-- a statewide database of men diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer in urology practices.

In the first phase, Lynch and Tagai will identify social determinants of health that might explain differences between Black and white men diagnosed with prostate cancer, including how they choose treatment and their quality of life after treatment.

In phase two, the researchers will interview some men and clinicians, including Fox Chase and Temple Health oncologists, for input on why disparities may occur. The final research phase will be translational, where Lynch and Tagai will distill the study findings to create positive, real-world changes clinics can implement to improve care. “We want to help clinicians identify at-risk men and connect them with programs and tools to improve their quality of life,” concludes Lynch.


The Grant: A three-year $1.4 million Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Health Disparity Research Award for New Investigators to investigate how social determinants of health, including environment and socioeconomic status, impact the quality of life and treatment-related decision-making in men with advanced prostate cancer

The award was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the Defense Health Agency J9, Research, and Development Directorate, or the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, in the amount of $1,402,490 through the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) under Award No. W81XWH-22-1-0368. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the Fox Chase Cancer Center and are not necessarily endorsed by the Department of Defense.