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Surveys Identify Barriers to Participation in Clinical Trials

Published in: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, v. 93, no. 3, Feb. 7, 2001, p. 238-239

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2001

by Nikhil Wagle, Dana P. Goldman, Meredith L. Kilgore

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, R. 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. However, this figure misrepresents the number of cancer patients treated in experimental therapeutic trials. The cancer community should recognize that the 3% rate refers to CTEP-sponsored studies only and not to all clinical cancer trials. Estimates of participation rates do not recognize the complicated interplay between patients, providers, insurers, and institutions that ultimately contributes to patient involvement in clinical trials.

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