Aug 19, 2012

Some Clinical Trials Can’t Recruit Enough Participants

Does that surprise you? In fact, participation in cancer clinical trials is very low. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that only about 3 percent of all adult cancer patients ever participate in a clinical trial. And the participation rate of seniors (who have about 2/3 of all diagnosed cancer cases) and ethnic minorities is much lower—only about 1 percent!

Clinical Trials are the process by which new cancer drugs and treatments are tested and finally approved for use by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration.

What happens if there aren’t enough volunteer participants for a clinical trial to be conducted? In that case we will not find out if the untested drug might actually have benefitted those with cancer. This happens frequently.

Why don’t cancer patients participate in clinical trials?
The NCI reports multiple reasons:

·       Lack of awareness—one survey found that 85 percent of cancer patients were not even aware that they might qualify for a clinical trial.
·       Some cancer patients have a distrust of research and those who conduct trials.
·       There is reluctance by some physicians to refer patients to trials.
·       Travel to trial centers and the time required to participate in a trial is cited by some patients.
·       Cost factors—travel to clinic sites and additional medical costs can be deciding factors.

·       On the plus side, a survey of people who had already participated in a cancer clinical trial found that 84 percent said they would participate in another trial if given the chance. And most states now require health insurance providers to cover the ‘routine’ costs of a trial.

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