Another important reason patients were not enrolling was that some doctors were reluctant to encourage patients to join the trial. In 2005, results of a survey were presented by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and Northwestern University looking at the awareness and attitudes of cancer survivors toward clinical trials. This study reported that only 9% of patients with cancer were ever made aware of their ability to participate in a clinical trial that may offer them a new, more effective treatment. Importantly, awareness varied based on the type of cancer; for example, 26% of leukemia patients were made aware of trials versus only 5% of gynecologic cancer patients.
When cancer survivors were asked if they were satisfied with their clinical experience on a trial, they responded with overwhelmingly positive responses. Ninety-seven percent of patients felt they were fully informed about the risks and benefits of the trial, and 96% of patients felt they were treated with dignity and respect on the trial. Probably the most convincing statistic was that 91% of patients would recommend a trial to other potential volunteers.
The bottom line is that clinical trials are a good thing, and are just one of the many ways you can actively get involved in the fight against cancer and help make a difference in people's lives for years to come. Participate in trials when you can, and take pride in knowing you are helping to keep medicine and cancer research moving forward.