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In a study published in the Journal of Cancer Education, two researchers provide an analysis of the clinical trial participation rates among cancer survivors in a variety of demographic groups. They initially note that racial disparities in clinical trial participation among cancer patients have been described, but that an overall age-adjusted demographic analysis is lacking. Their analysis provides demographic information for a variety of classifications, including income, race, and number of cancers.

Data were analyzed from 14 states, with information coming from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, or BRFSS. This population-based survey is conducted by the CDC and gathers information from patients with a history of cancer. For this study, only patients who reported participating in a clinical trial were considered. The age adjustment was based on 2010 census data. Data were analyzed using STATA-v16.1.

The researchers describe a variety of disparities on the basis of these data. When stratified by race, they found that participation in trials was highest among young adults (age 18-24, 19.1%), male (8.5%), and non-Hispanic Black patients (19.8%), while White patients represented the overall majority of participants. Participation rates were higher among patients with a higher income as well as patients who have had cancer multiple times. The researchers conclude that further efforts are required in order to eliminate disparities, and they single out both women and the elderly as majorly underrepresented.


Parekh, T., & Desai, A. (2020). Demographic and Socioeconomic Disparities Among Cancer Survivors in Clinical Trials Participation, USA, 2016-2018. Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education

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