Published In: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 93, no. 3, 2001, Correspondence, p. 238-239
One of the most pressing issues in clinical cancer research is the relatively small number of patients enrolled in clinical trials. In a recent two-part News series, Finn wrote, fewer than 3% of adults with cancer participate in clinical trials. This figure is the most commonly used statistic in discussing cancer trial participation. It has been cited numerous times in both medical and health services journals and by advocacy organizations, and, most prominently, President Clinton used it in his Executive Memorandum directing Medicare to cover routine costs of care in clinical trials. Unfortunately, this figure misrepresents the number of cancer patients treated in experimental therapeutic trials.