New ACS CAN report takes a closer look at the barriers patients face to join cancer clinical trials

April 16, 2018

ACS CAN Board Chair Dick Deming hosts a panel at the Policy Form. Clinical trials are a critical part of cancer research.

They allow cancer researchers to test and study new treatments with the goal of improving cancer care.

For a clinical trial to be successful, the trials need patients to participate.

Studies have shown that most patients are eager and willing to participate in clinical research, but that only a small fraction of them end up enrolling in clinical trials due to various enrollment barriers.

ACS CAN released a report this month at the organization’s annual National Policy Forum that identifies enrollment barriers and proposes ways they can be overcome.

On average, only about one in four patients has access to clinical trials in the institution where they are being treated. Patients that do have access to a clinical trial cited other barriers to joining – including cost and logistical issues of participating and fear over medical side effects.

At the National Policy Forum, ACS CAN was joined by a wide range of organizations in laying out recommendations on ways to overcome these barriers:

  • Doctors could include clinical trial discussion more regularly in the treatment plan they make with their patients.
  • Patients could receive help paying for added costs from participating in the trials.
  • Trials could be better designed through the use of patient input and funding could be increased for trial-support personnel that could provide counseling and assistance to patients.

“We hope to continue this conversation with the ultimate goal of making sure that patients interested in clinical trials don’t have anything standing in the way of their taking part,” said ACS CAN President Chris Hansen.