Why the SISTER Study?

Smiling black woman.

Black women have much higher mortality from endometrial cancer compared with other groups in the United States, as they tend to have more high-risk, aggressive endometrial cancer. High-risk endometrial cancer requires treatment beyond surgery (chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and others), but Black/African American women have less success with treatment compared with White women, likely due to treatment delays or not receiving all prescribed treatment.

The Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African Americans (ECANA) - made up of Black endometrial cancer survivors, researchers, and advocates - has identified social support as a priority research area to improve outcomes for Black women. We know from research that social isolation during treatment can affect cancer outcomes through physiologic changes that lead to cancer progression and lower survival rates. Black/African American women are uniquely at risk for social isolation due to cultural, socioeconomic, and physical stressors.

Studies show that social support interventions, including peer-led support groups and one-on-one peer support, decrease social isolation and improve the likelihood of patients completing treatment. Despite professional organizations’ recommendations that comprehensive cancer centers include social support programming, actual practice varies. No studies have tested peer support strategies for Black women with endometrial cancer. There is a critical need to identify the most effective social support intervention for Black women undergoing adjuvant endometrial cancer treatment. The SISTER Study meets this need.

The SISTER Study is the first national randomized trial to focus on improving outcomes for Black/African American women with endometrial cancer.

Study goals

Our study has three main goals:

  1. compare two evidence-based interventions (group-based peer support and one-on-one peer support) against each other and against usual care delivery, to understand which is more effective at improving treatment completion among Black women with high-risk endometrial cancer
  2. determine if the group-based and/or one-on-one peer support interventions reduce social isolation during treatment; and
  3. evaluate whether patients, healthcare staff, and peer support providers find these interventions acceptable.