Clinical Trials: Low Income Keeps Cancer Patients Away

WebProNews StaffScience

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Clinical trails are often avoided by individuals who make little money, according to a recent study. Reports indicate that cancer patients who make less than $50,000 a year were 30 percent less likely to participate in trials, while those who made less than $20,000 were 44 percent less likely to take part in these clinical trials. Researchers feel that those who make very little money don't have equal access to potentially life-saving studies.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, patients who enroll in these programs receive high-quality health care while assisting doctors and specialists with developing new treatments. Of the 5,500 patients surveyed, 40 percent of them discussed such trials with their physicians. The result: Nearly 45 percent of these conversations led to an offer for study enrollment.

"This is the first time in a large, national study that we have actual patient-reported income on which to base this finding," study lead author Joseph Unger explained. "Our study found that after accounting for all factors such as age, education, sex, race, medical conditions and distance to a clinic, income on its own was associated with a patient's clinical trial participation."

This research was presented at the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Sunday. As always, these conclusions are to be considered preliminary until they have been properly published in a peer-reviewed journal.