Survey Shows Many Patients With Cancer Willing to Take Part in Clinical Trials Despite Coronavirus
Patient Power, a patient-driven cancer news organization, reported that a majority of patients with cancer still want to participate in clinical trials despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey of 1,485 patients. The Patient Power COVID-19 Cancer Trial Survey, the second Patient Power survey on how patients with cancer feel about clinical trials, also showed that people are willing to take part in trials even if it means coming into clinical settings frequently during the pandemic.
Lack of Discussion About Trials
Of those patients who did participate in clinical trials during the pandemic, the overwhelming majority believed their safety was protected by trial administrators. However, the survey also found that medical teams discussed clinical trials with just 15% of respondents, down from the 57% of patients reporting they had such discussions with their doctors in the first Patient Power Cancer Trial survey, reported in February 2020. The Patient Power COVID-19 Cancer Trial Survey also had twice the number of respondents as the earlier, prepandemic survey.
“We continue to encourage cancer specialists to talk about clinical trials with their patients, as patients are clearly willing to take part in them.”— Andrew Schorr
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The survey results were reported in a capstone speech by Patient Power Cofounder and President, Andrew Schorr, at the Oncology Summit for the Society of Clinical Research Sites. Mr. Schorr, who is living with two blood cancers, has participated in two clinical trials. Patient Power, which urges patients to become educated on all treatment options, also calls for medical professionals to consider clinical trials as vital potential options for all patients with cancer.
“This survey shows that most cancer patients are still willing to participate in clinical trials, despite the very real dangers the pandemic poses to them,” said Mr. Schorr. “However, the percentage of respondents who said their medical teams discussed clinical trials with them has sharply decreased from the already low prepandemic rate we reported in our first study. We continue to encourage cancer specialists to talk about clinical trials with their patients, as patients are clearly willing to take part in them.”
This survey of 1,485 patients with cancer was conducted between August 27 and September 16, 2020. Of the 1,359 respondents who answered this particular question, 57% said they were “very likely” or “possibly likely” to participate in a clinical trial, 17.7% were undecided, and 25.1% said they were “unlikely” to do so.
Further, 13% of respondents reported that they were in a clinical trial during the pandemic. Of these patients, 93% said they believed their safety was protected by trial administrators. Just 15% of respondents said their medical team discussed clinical trial participation with them during the pandemic. In contrast, 57% of patients responded that their medical team discussed trial participation in the first Patient Power Cancer Trial Survey, reported on February 3, 2020.