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Photo by © ASCO/Todd Buchanan 2022.

Written and edited by Lauren Weinand, M.D. 

Equity: Every Day. Every Patient. Everywhere. That was the theme of last year’s ASCO annual meeting. The 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting theme—advancing equitable care through innovation—is similarly focused on equity. For ASCO, health equity is not only a theme of its annual meetings but also a pillar of its mission to conquer cancer through research, education, and promotion of the highest quality, equitable patient care. 

One study included in the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting program that reflects ASCO’s mission to promote health equity was a survey from the BECOME (Black Experience of Clinical Trials and Opportunities for Meaningful Engagement) project. Here are some highlights from the study and quotes from the lead study author. 

Highlights from the Study:

This study, by Ms. Stephanie Walker, R.N., and colleagues sought to assess the barriers to clinical trial access experienced by Black patients with metastatic breast cancer. 

  • The study included 424 survey participants. 
  • 24% of survey participants self-identified as Black. 
  • Over 80% of Black participants reported that they were likely to consider participating in a clinical trial.
  • 40% of these participants reported no one on their care team had discussed clinical trial participation with them. 
  • 57% of Black survey participants reported they believed novel treatments might be harmful. 
  • Black survey participants were more likely than non-Black survey participants (67% vs. 10%) to report they valued trial information from a person of the same racial or ethnic background. 
  • The bottom line: Black patients are willing to participate in clinical trials. Healthcare providers should educate all of their patients about the option to participate in clinical trials and provide resources to help support them in their search for appropriate clinical trials in which they can participate. 
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Quotes from the Lead Study Author:

During the ASCO pre-meeting press briefing, lead study author, Ms. Stephanie Walker, R.N., answered several questions about the study. 

What is your advice to Black patients with breast cancer on how to find a clinical trial?

Ms. Stephanie Walker, R.N.: 

“Talk to your physician. Find out which clinical trial is appropriate for you and your subtype. Also, a patient navigator can help you find a trial that is suited for you and in your area. Finally, search for clinical trials online.” 

 

Were you surprised by how many Black women were not asked to participate in clinical trials? 

 Ms. Stephanie Walker, R.N.

“Not at all. And our respondents were educated, had internet access, were aware of clinical trials, and 9 times out of 10, they were receiving care at a university medical center.”

 

How can providers deliver patient-friendly information on clinical trials in an unbiased manner?

 Ms. Stephanie Walker, R.N.: 

“Remember, we don’t all have support systems at home. Often, patient information on clinical trials assumes patients have support from a family member who doesn’t have to go to work. When, in reality, our family members are working to provide us with the health insurance we need to pay for our health care. 

 Also, be sure to share the same information on clinical trials with your Black patients as you would share with your white patients. And let go of any pre-conceived biases you have about Black patients when you discuss this information with them [1].”

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Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.

Source:

[1] ASCO. (2022, May 26). 2022 ASCO annual meeting pre-meeting press briefing. https://meetings.asco.org/2022-asco-media-events/14777?presentation=214073&cid=DM10493&bid=171199001#214073

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