Mar 7, 2013

Do people know about clinical trials? Some surprises

We often say that fewer than 5% of adults with cancer participate in clinical trials during the course of their cancer therapy.  What does the bigger picture look like?  A recent publication describes the results of a 2011 survey.  A nice summary of the key findings can be found in this article.  11% of adults reported ever participating in medical research - surprisingly higher than the percentage of cancer patients.  A full 64% were aware of research opportunities.  

Participation and awareness both were more likely among folks with higher incomes, more education, among older people, people suffering from chronic conditions, and people who live close to large clinical research centers.

Although one would think that the internet would be the number one source of information about medical research (and our blog readers might think so too), participants in the survey cited television as the most common source at 53%!  46% cited radio, 44% newspaper ads, 22% the internet, and 21% learned about a research opportunity from a pamphlet in their doctor's office.  

All in all, it looks like folks living with cancer participate in medical research less than the general adult population - a surprise.  And the internet appears not to be the number 1 (or even 2 or 3) source of information about medical research for US adults - a bigger surprise.  This may change as the internet gains prominence, but we should not assume that "old media" no longer matter in spreading the word about medical research opportunities.  

To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.
To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.

(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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