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More Cancer Patients Needed to Participate in Clinical Trials

More needs to be done to educate the general public of the critical need for clinical trial participation. Nationally, experts say only a very small percentage of cancer patients participate.

According to a 2008 editorial in The Oncologist, only half of the clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute enrolled enough participants to achieve meaningful results.

There are several reasons why cancer patients are reluctant to sign up.  Already frightened by their diagnosis, they are reluctant because they think they are being used as a guinea pig.  Another issue hindering participation is the denial of insurance coverage for some patients, especially the elderly, who are at increased risk for cancer.

In addition to increased education efforts, physicians, nurses and others involved in the care of cancer patients need to make a greater effort to inform patients of trials and potential benefits.