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Lower-Income Cancer Patients Less Likely to Participate in Trials

Trial participation decreases with decreasing annual household income

THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Lower-income patients with cancer are less likely to participate in clinical trials, according to a research letter published online Oct. 15 in JAMA Oncology.

Joseph M. Unger, Ph.D., from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined data from a prospective cooperative group survey study of barriers to clinical trial participation. They examined the correlation between income and trial participation after adjustment for age, sex, race, education, travel distance, and disease stage. A total of 1,581 patients were eligible, and annual income data were available for 80 percent of them.

The researchers found that patients with annual household income below $50,000 had lower odds of trial participation than those with higher income (12 versus 17 percent; odds ratio, 0.68) in multivariable regression. As household income decreased from $50,000 or higher to between $20,000 and $49,999 to less than $20,000, there was a decrease in trial participation (17 versus 13 versus 11 percent, respectively; odds ratio, 0.75). Across subgroups, lower-income patients were consistently less likely to participate in clinical trials.

“Since clinical trial treatments represent the newest available treatments, access to this vital resource should be available to individuals of all income levels,” the authors write.

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