Barriers to Participation in Clinical Trials among Hispanic Cancer Patients

Luis E. Gonzalez, Gwendolyn P. Quinn*, Jessica McIntyre*, University of South Florida

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Abstract Previous research indicates Hispanic cancer patients are severely underrepresented in cancer clinical trials. This study aimed to understand some of the main barriers that may prevent Hispanic cancer patients from participating in clinical trials. A total of 36 Hispanic cancer patients and their caregivers participated in a focus group either in Tampa, Florida or Ponce, Puerto Rico to discuss knowledge of clinical trials. Lack of knowledge about clinical trials, fears, psychological issues, and financial burden were identified by cancer patients and caregivers as major barriers to participation.

IntroductionThe Hispanic population represents the fastest growing minority group in the United States and is expected to double in the next 40 years (1).

As Hispanics continue to become more prevalent in the U.S., it becomes necessary to ensure they are equally represented in healthcare research. One way to reach this goal is through increased participation in cancer clinical trials (2). A previous study by Murthy and colleages noted that from 1996 through 2002, only 3.1 percent of the participants in clinical trials for breast, lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers were Hispanic (3). The same study used an enrollment fraction which was defined as the number of trial enrollees divided by the estimated US cancer cases in each ethnic subgroup and found that even after adjusting for the total number of incident cancer cases, Hispanics were underrepresented with a 1.3 percent enrollment fraction compared to the 1.8 percent enrollment fraction of White cancer patients (3).

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