The Hurdles Minorities Face When it Comes to Cancer Trials
Cancer has been the focus of a substantial amount of research in recent years. This research has resulted in numerous breakthroughs that have led to life-saving treatments.
Not only do these treatments save lives but they also improve the quality of life for those dealing with the disease. These treatments are developed in clinical cancer trials where research groups assess the efficacy of new treatments against the current treatments on the market; however, these clinical trials have a dark side.
People who come from minority ethnic groups often have trouble gaining access to these clinical cancer trials.
Since 1993, all National Institutes of Health (N.I.T.) funded trials require that minority groups be represented in the clinical trial groups, they don't say what percentage of the cancer trial group should be from a minority background. Furthermore, they only fund around 6% of all clinical trials. The remainder of the trials are funded by the pharmaceutical companies themselves or outside research groups.
This leads to an under-representation of minority groups that often conceals the benefits of these treatments from these groups or might hide adverse effects of the treatment that might only affect one subset of the population.
Why the under-representation of minority groups?
There are several reasons for this issue. First, many people who come from minority backgrounds haven't received an appropriate level of education with regards to clinical cancer trials. This means that they might not know that a trial is going on or that the trial might be relevant to their form of cancer. Furthermore, many people of minority descent with cancer also have other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, that might exclude them from the clinical trial.
This is a major issue that deserves the attention of the medical community to ensure that minority groups have access to more clinical trials in the future.