Computational Modeling and Multilevel Cancer Control Interventions

Published in: JNCI, Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs, v. 2012, no. 44, May 2012, p. 56-66

Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2012

by Joseph P. Morrissey, Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Rebecca Anhang Price, Jeanne S. Mandelblatt

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This chapter presents an overview of computational modeling as a tool for multilevel cancer care and intervention research. Model-based analyses have been conducted at various "beneath the skin" or biological scales as well as at various "above the skin" or socioecological levels of cancer care delivery. We review the basic elements of computational modeling and illustrate its applications in four cancer control intervention areas: tobacco use, colorectal cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, and racial disparities in access to breast cancer care. Most of these models have examined cancer processes and outcomes at only one or two levels. We suggest ways these models can be expanded to consider interactions involving three or more levels. Looking forward, a number of methodological, structural, and communication barriers must be overcome to create useful computational models of multilevel cancer interventions and population health.

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