Anderson C, Smitherman AB, Meernik C, Edwards TP, Deal AM, Cannizzaro N, Baggett CD, Chao C, Nichols HB. Patient/provider discussions about clinical trial participation and reasons for nonparticipation among adolescent and young adult women with cancer. J Adolesc Young Adul. 2020 Feb;9(1):41-6. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2019.0078.


PURPOSE: Clinical trial enrollment is low among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer and may contribute to inferior survival gains in recent years in this population compared with other age groups. We investigated clinical trial participation among AYA women with cancer, and examined whether patients discussed clinical trial participation with their doctor and reasons for nonparticipation.

METHODS: Women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, or gynecologic cancer at ages 15-39 years during 2004-2016 were identified from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health system. During 2018-2019, a total of 1264 eligible women completed an online survey (response = 13%), which examined survivorship issues among AYAs.

RESULTS: Overall, 5% of participants reported that they had participated in a clinical trial. Most women reported that they had not discussed clinical trial participation with a medical provider (76%) and that they did not know whether a relevant trial was available for their cancer (73%). Among those who knew that a trial was available but did not participate, the most commonly reported reasons for nonparticipation included concerns about side effects of the treatment in the trial and concerns that the treatment had not been sufficiently tested.

CONCLUSION: Only a small proportion of AYA women with cancer in our cohort reported discussing a clinical trial with a provider or knowing whether a relevant trial was available. Our findings point to opportunities to improve patient/provider communication to increase clinical trial enrollment among AYAs with cancer.

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