As a scientist, I credit clinical trials with advancing our understanding of cancer and ability to treat it effectively. As a patient, I credit clinical trials with playing an essential role in my survival.
From both perspectives it troubles me greatly that only ~3% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials.
Beil says, "The dilemma is intertwined with history, psychology, and logistics,all of which must operate within an imperfect system."
- Many oncologists are not involved in research and never mention trials to patients and/or are unenthusiastic when patients bring up the topic.
- Patients face difficulties with insurance reimbursement for investigational treatments.
- Patients may be swayed by a number of popular myths about clinical trials.
Beil suggests that a public-education blitz to raise awareness among the general population may help. As Joan Schiller, M.D. explains: People need to know that, progress in cancer research is being slowed, “not because of the lack of ideas or the lack of drugs; it’s the lack of people in clinical trials."
I couldn't agree more. Fortunately you can take advantage of the many sound resources for information on trials. In upcoming posts I'll dispel a few popular myths about trials and offer a few links to excellent resources on clinical trials.
Healthy Survivors consider clinical trials when assessing treatment options.