Shouldn’t this be the other way around?

Study results here in Chicago at ASCO have revealed that significantly fewer low income patients participate in clinical trials.

According to the 499 patient study, 44% fewer low income patients (making $20,000 a year or less) took part.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  Considering that most if not all medical expenses–and sometimes even travel expenses, too–are covered for patients in most trials, low income patients should be lining-up to participate.  And toss-in the fact that these patients are gaining access to the latest and hopefully greatest new therapies–and the medical care is often far superior to the care they are currently recieving–what gives?

The study authors point to misconceptions about costs, how studies work and concern about missing time from work as possible reasons why.

But I think it’s mainly a lack of access to specialists who are familiar with the process and encourage participation, too.

And these patients are less likely to spend a lot of time on a computer, searching for trial options like I might/will be when the anti-myeloma (bone marrow cancer) drugs that I’m using stop working in a year or two.

Mainly, I believe it’s about education.  For the patient?  Sure.  But I’m talking about clinical oncologists and nurses in smaller practices and hospitals that are either too busy, or don’t take the time to familiarize themselves and stay updated about trials that might benefit their patients.

What do you think?  Any explanation for why as few as 3% of cancer patients sign-up for trials at a time when researchers are desperate for bodies?

Lack of clinical trial participation hurts all of us.  And that’s too bad.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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