While etiologies behind the disparities were beyond the scope of the current study, ASTRO's Committee on Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CHEDI) outlined several barriers to trial participation in a 2019 blog post. Structural racism, distrust of medical providers, hidden costs associated with trial participation and a lack of community outreach by researchers all consistently limit inclusion of patients from underrepresented minority groups in cancer clinical trials. These obstacles call for solutions including improved diversity in the physician workforce, greater community involvement, such as partnering with community cancer centers, and more recruitment and support programs tailored to specific cultural backgrounds.
"Clinical trials are the mainstay in the development and validation of new cancer therapies and treatment options," wrote Fumiko Chino, MD, in the post. "As racial/ethnic minorities carry some of the highest cancer burdens in the United States, equitable participation in clinical trials becomes an important tool in the fight against health care disparities."
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Characterization of Underrepresented Populations in Modern Era Radiation Therapy Clinical Trials (Abstract 204)
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The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the world’s largest radiation oncology society, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. The Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics, Practical Radiation Oncology and Advances in Radiation Oncology; developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers; and created the nonprofit foundation Radiation Oncology Institute.Back to HCB News