By staff writers

June 4, 2012 -- The lower their income, the less likely patients are to participate in cancer clinical trials, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, currently under way in Chicago.

Patients with incomes less than $20,000 were 44% less likely to enroll in clinical trials than patients with higher annual incomes. For patients with annual incomes of $20,000 to $50,000, the rate was 27%.

The cost of participating in a clinical trial was a key concern for 53% of patients with incomes less than $20,000, compared with 24% of patients whose income was more than $100,000 per year, according to presenter Dr. Kathy Albain, an oncologist and professor of hematology/oncology at Loyola University Medical Center.

She chaired the committee that developed and designed the study, which was a collaboration between the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) and patient education services and market research company NexCura.

Albain and co-researchers designed an online survey of 5,499 patients who were newly diagnosed with breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancers. Overall, 9% of these patients participated in clinical trials. Income was the only socioeconomic or demographic factor that was significantly associated with study participation.

Copyright © 2012

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