A major challenge in identifying ways to improve breast health is lack of participation in clinical trials.

A study recently published in JAMA Oncology demonstrated that low-income patients were consistently less likely to participate in clinical trials. Trial participants are most often patients younger than 65 years old, female and not African American.

“Clinical trials often provide access to treatment options that are otherwise unavailable and are vital to informing research in prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Dawn Hershman, a lead author of the study and a BCRF grantee “Reducing this disparity for low-income patients would improve fair access to trials.”

At a BCRF workshop aimed at identifying new approaches to reducing disparities, one recommendation included the expansion of clinical trial eligibility requirements to include common co-morbidities, in other words, diseases that patients may additionally suffer from, such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and chronic renal disease, allowing for a broader patient spectrum.

By identifying specific areas of inequity such as low-income households and clinical trial participation, researchers can hone in on identifying approaches to solve for the disparity. 

To learn more about breast cancer disparities, read more here.

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