Health News

Lower Income Cancer Patients Can’t Afford Clinical Trials

The lower a person’s income is, the less likely that person is to participate in cancer-related clinical studies. This is unfortunate for the patient who could benefit from the treatment. It also affects the accuracy of the clinical trials as the participants aren’t completely representative of the population affected by cancer.

It isn’t that low income patients don’t want to participate but rather that it is harder to find transportation and child care reports UPI. Taking any more time off of work than necessary is just not an option for many of these cancer patients.

Biostatistician and health services researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Joseph Unger, explains that it is beneficial to the research to have participation from all levels of income and that everyone should have access to all resources, regardless of income.

The research benefits because you can do trials more quickly and they would be more representative. For patients, clinical trials are a vital resource, so there shouldn’t be a disparity depending on your income.

The study, published Thursday in JAMA Oncology, looked at over 1,000 cancer patients for six months. They saw that the lower the patient’s income, the less likely that person was to volunteer for cancer treatment trials. Medical Daily also notes that the majority of cancer patient, regardless of income, do not partake in the trials.

Of patients making over $50,000 a year, 17 percent participated in trials. Between $20,000 and $49,999 there was a 13 percent participation rate. In the lowest income group, under $20,000, only 11 percent volunteered.

The authors of the study recommend that financial help should be given based on income to make the clinical trials equally accessible regardless of income.

Another barrier for low income patients is that the trials are not always advertised where the patients will see them. Beti Thompson, a doctor at Health Disparities Research Center at Fred Hutchinson says that many low income patients never find out about the trials because of where they get their healthcare.

We need to do a lot more at the community level to educate people about the importance of clinical trials and to let them know that once they go through traditional treatments, there may be other options for them. We put things on the Internet and have elaborate documents about how clinical trials work, but we really need to go to where the people are and talk to them.

In other health news, it has recently been reported that there are over 32 million Americans without health insurance.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - Get Important Content Like This Delivered Directly To You

Get important content and more delivered to you once or twice a week.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.