Report Details Common Patient Barriers to Cancer Clinical Trial Enrollment

 Only One in Four Patients Has Access to Local Clinical Trials

April 11, 2018

Washington, D.C.—The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) today released a report examining the most common patient barriers to cancer clinical trial enrollment. Made public at ACS CAN’s annual national policy forum, the report found only about one in four (27%) patients has access to clinical trials where they are being treated. Yet, if asked to enroll in an available trial, more than half of eligible patients typically agree to do so.

Of the patients who actively decline participation, the main factors cited include, fear of side effects, loss of control in their treatment, logistical issues for participation and cost concerns.

“Clinical trials are an essential step toward advancing promising new cancer treatments and while most patients are willing to take part, many trials struggle to find enough participants to successfully complete their research,” said Chris Hansen, ACS CAN president. “Trial sponsors, institutions, patients and researchers need to work together to make sure trials are designed with patients in mind, meeting patients where they are, and that patients have all of the information and resources they need to participate if they are interested,” said Hansen.

A set of consensus recommendations endorsed by 15 organizations from all sectors of the cancer research community, including patient advocacy groups, provider groups, cancer institutions, and the drug research and development industry, was also released at the event.

Sample recommendations include making the discussion of specific trial options a more regular part of the doctor-patient treatment decision, encouraging research sites to ensure that their portfolio of clinical trials match the characteristics of patients in their area, increasing funding for trial-support personnel, and helping patients with added costs that occasionally result from participation in clinical trials.

“There are a number of meaningful measures the cancer research community has identified to improve trial enrollment and many of these are already being pursued. 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 Hansen.

Data in the report was compiled based on a meta-analysis of existing literature.

The full report is available at:

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