The reason for the trial is that people over 65 are underrepresented in clinical research as a whole. This trial hoped to determine the physician- and patient-perceived barriers to breast cancer clinical trial enrollment for older patients.
Dr. Javid’s research looked at the reasons why patients and doctors enrolled or declined to enroll in trials. They included demographics, trial availability, and eligibility using questionnaires that revealed concerns about treatment, medical status, age, family, and financial or transportation issues.
“I am very interested in the disparities in cancer care received by our patients over 65,” Dr. Javid says. “Among this subset, there is substantial variation in the surgical, radiation, and adjuvant systemic therapy (eg. chemotherapy) recommendations these patients receive, largely due to the lack of research-based evidence on the risks and benefits of therapies among this group. My aim in joining the efforts with Dr. Julie Gralow (SCCA medical oncologist) on this important SWOG 0316 trial was to determine why our older patients are not enrolling to breast cancer clinical trials at higher rates.”
Out of 1,079 people who registered for this study, 909 (84 percent) returned for follow-up. The major reason for not enrolling in a clinical study was that the trial wasn’t available or the patient was ineligible. This study revealed that despite low enrollment, people over 65 are interested in participating in clinical trials.
“What we learned is that fewer older patients are eligible for clinical trials in comparison to younger patients. But if a trial was available, older patients were just as likely as younger patients to enroll,” says Dr. Javid. “In addition, older age and concern over potential treatment toxicities were important barriers precluding many oncologists from offering or enrolling older (>65) patients onto a clinical trial.”
Have you ever had the opportunity to enroll in a clinical trial? Have you ever tried but didn’t qualify? We’d like to hear what you have to say on this, especially if you’re over age 65.
To learn more about clinical studies, visit our website. There’s an article called “Clinical Studies: Myths vs. Facts” that’s a great place to start.