Only 3 percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. In particular, Hispanic and elderly patients are underrepresented in many trials, making it harder to understand and treat the disease in that age group.
The value of trials
For those who make the tough choice to join a trial, the value and benefits can be enormous. Joining an oncology trial can provide long-term monitored care to patients. This is on top of providing new options to help treat or cure cancer. And the benefits to society are immense — you can contribute to scientific knowledge that helps address the toll, costs, and treatment of cancer for all who suffer.
Finding a trial:
A good place to start when looking to join a trial is to ask your doctor. Not all doctors will bring up the topic first, but most should be aware of some opportunities or can point you in the right direction.
If you want to do further digging after consulting your doctor, there are several organizations that have information on trials taking place. Cancer.net offers a wealth of information on locating and participating in clinical trials. The National Cancer Institute can help you locate trials supported by the government-funded agency. Those with prostate cancer should consult the information and directory at the Prostate Cancer Foundation. For those with ovarian cancer, a specific database is available at The Clearity Foundation. The National Institutes of Health conducts clinical research trials for cancer and many other diseases like Alzheimer’s, infectious diseases, and neurological disorders. To see current cancer trials and search others, please visit ClinicalTrials.gov.
New clinical trials start up all the time. Make sure to meet and discuss your options with your doctor regularly, and check out the resources above for more information.