Document Type



Background: Current clinical guidelines recommend that hormone receptor-positive breast cancer survivors take adjuvant hormonal therapy (AHT) for 5 to 10 years, following the end of definitive treatment. However, fewer than half of patients adhere to the guidelines, and suboptimal adherence to AHT is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer mortality. Research has extensively documented sociodemographic and disease-specific factors associated with adherence to AHT, but very little evidence exists on behavioral factors (eg, knowledge, patient-provider communication) that can be modified and targeted by interventions. Objective: The goal of this study is to develop and test a theory-based, multilevel intervention to improve adherence to AHT among breast cancer survivors from racially and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (eg, Medicaid-insured). The specific aims are to (1) explore multilevel (eg, patient, health care system) factors that influence adherence to AHT; (2) develop a theory-based, multilevel intervention to improve adherence to AHT; and (3) pilot test and evaluate the intervention developed in Aim 2. Methods: For Aim 1, we will recruit breast cancer survivors and health care professionals to participate in semistructured interviews to gain their perspectives about barriers and facilitators to AHT use. We will conduct a directed content analysis of the Aim 1 qualitative interview data. For Aim 2, we will integrate Aim 1 findings and current literature into the design of a multilevel intervention using an Intervention Mapping approach. For Aim 3, we will recruit Medicaid-insured breast cancer survivors to assess the feasibility of the pilot intervention. Results: From May 2016 to July 2018, we completed interviews with 19 breast cancer survivors and 23 health care professionals in South Carolina. We will conduct a directed content analysis of the qualitative interview data. Results from this analysis will be used, in combination with current literature, to design (Aim 2) and pilot test a theory-based multilevel intervention (Aim 3) in Summer 2021. Results of the pilot are expected for Fall 2021. Conclusions: This study will provide a deeper understanding of how to improve adherence to AHT, using a novel and multilevel approach, among socioeconomically disadvantaged breast cancer survivors who often experience disproportionate breast cancer mortality.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© Tisha M Felder, Sue P Heiney, James R Hebert, Daniela B Friedman, Ronit Elk, Regina Franco, Lucy Gansauer, Barbara Christensen, Marvella E Ford. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 03.09.2020.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

APA Citation

Felder, T. M., Heiney, S. P., Hebert, J. R., Friedman, D. B., Elk, R., Franco, R., Gansauer, L., Christensen, B., & Ford, M. E. (2020). Improving adherence to adjuvant hormonal therapy among disadvantaged women diagnosed with breast cancer in South Carolina: Proposal for a Multimethod study. JMIR Research Protocols, 9(9).

Included in

Nursing Commons