Pandemic Makes One-Fifth of Cancer Patients Less Willing to Take on Trials
A new survey shows one in five cancer patients are far less likely to participate in future clinical trials due to fear of COVID-19 exposure, raising the question of whether enrollment levels that have dropped precipitously since the beginning of the pandemic are likely to recover after the virus is controlled.
In an attempt to answer that question, researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) conducted the survey in response to a report from the SWOG Cancer Research Network that showed the enrollment rate in its trials had slowed from 76.5 percent in the first weeks of 2020 to only 23.5 percent since March 15.
ACS surveyed more than 3,000 members of its Cancer Action Network Survivor Views panel in May and June and found that, while 80 percent of respondents said that COVID-19 had made no change in their view of participating in a clinical trial, the remaining respondents (18.1 percent) were more than seven times less likely to enroll.
According to the ACS report, published last week on the JAMA Network, the most common reasons cited by respondents who were less likely to enroll were fear of exposure to COVID-19 (70 percent) and difficulty accessing normal care during the pandemic (18 percent). Reluctance to leave their home/family and financial hardship caused by the pandemic were cited by about 10 percent of respondents.
ACS also reported that almost 34 percent of survey respondents said they had discussed a clinical trial with their physician and 20 percent were offered a trial. Of those offered a trial, 78 percent accepted and 12 percent eventually enrolled.
Response patterns were the same across gender, race and socioeconomic subpopulations, ACS said, which included 73 percent female, 3.6 percent African American and 36.6 percent with an annual household income of $60,000 or less.
Read the report here: https://bit.ly/2GZ327a.