The overall objective of this module is to explore methods for improving clinical trial awareness among racial and ethnic minority populations. We summarize methods that target healthcare providers, patients and patient advocates, as well as communities. Please continue to other presentations in this module for methods on improving awareness for these groups.

Cancer Treatment Study Enrollment by Ethnicity
Chart: Enrollment by Ethnicity

An estimated 3-5% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials. Of these, less than 10% are racial or ethnic minorities. This chart by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups shows enrollment by race and ethnicity into publicly funded phase I-III cancer treatment studies from January 1, 2003 to June 30, 2005.

By race the majority were white, 8% were Black / African Americans, 2.8% Asian / Pacific Islander, 0.5% were Native American/Alaskan Native. A small remainder were multiple race.

By ethnicity, 5.6% who enrolled were Hispanic Latino, while the rest were non-hispanic latino.

Here is some Background information

There are multiple factors which contribute to lower clinical trial participation among racial and ethnic minorities. Studies have shown lower rates of clinical trial awareness among racial and ethnic minorities (e.g., Blacks, Hispanics) compared to Whites. Lack of awareness is associated with reduced willingness to participate in cancer clinical trials. Barriers to patient awareness include lack of education regarding clinical trials, lack of culturally appropriate information, lower cancer knowledge, and decreased health provider awareness of trials.

How Do People Find Out About Clinical Trials?

Their physicians or other healthcare providers may provide information that clinical trials are an option to look into. Or they may refer them to specific clinical trials. Physicians and other healthcare providers may also conduct trials as part of their own practices.

People also hear about trials from trusted sources. Family, friends, and community leaders are a few examples of trusted sources. They may also search out options on their own.