Study finds people of color are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials

The results help confirm that there are sociodemographic disparities in cancer clinical trials.

a woman of color with a physician

Findings counter widely held belief that minorities are less like to participate in health research.

May 18, 2021

People of color, those with a higher income and younger individuals are more likely to participate in clinical trials during their cancer treatment according to a new study from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Clinical trials are research studies that involve people who volunteer to take part in tests of new drugs, current approved drugs for a new purpose or medical devices.

“This study informs our understanding of who is participating in cancer clinical trials,” said Lincoln Sheets, an assistant research professor at the MU School of Medicine. ““We found people of color were more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than white cancer patients when controlling for other demographic factors. The results of this study help confirm that there are sociodemographic disparities in cancer clinical trials, indicating there are deficiencies in the system as it stands now. We must lessen financial barriers to participation, improve logistical accessibility of cancer clinical trials and loosen restrictions on the enrollment of patients with comorbidities.”

Sheets said improving access to transportation, childcare and health insurance would remove some of the structural and logistical barriers that prevent people from participating in cancer clinical trials.

Read more from the MU School of Medicine

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