Barriers to Clinical Trials

Only three percent of U.S. adults with cancer (all cancer types) participate in clinical trials, but it is estimated that 20 percent are eligible.

Patients may not consider clinical trials because they…

  • Don’t know about clinical trials
  • Don’t know how to find trials
  • Are afraid or suspicious of research
  • Have practical or personal obstacles
  • Feel like they can’t afford to participate
  • Don’t want to go against their doctor’s wishes
  • Believe that if they participate they may not get any other treatment

Doctors themselves can be more helpful in encouraging patients to consider clinical trials.

Many doctors…

  • Don’t know about clinical trials
  • Are unwilling to “lose control” of a patient’s care
  • Believe that standard therapy alone is best
  • Are concerned that clinical trials add administrative burdens
  • Are concerned about how their patient will react to the suggestion of a clinical trial

If you are interested in a clinical trial, you should not hesitate to ask your doctor about whether there are trials that might be right for you. If your physician does not know how to find trials, refer him or her to the Find a Clinical Trial section of this site.

Next: Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Clinical Trials