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Fewer Minorities, Women in Cancer Trials

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NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jun 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The elderly, minorities and women are less likely to enlist in clinical cancer trials than young, white and male patients, U.S. researchers have found.

Doctors from the Yale University School of Medicine analyzed participants enrolled in the National Cancer Institute's cooperative group for non-surgical clinical trials for breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer from 2000 to 2002.

Nearly 85.6 percent of trial participants were white, while 3.1 percent were Hispanic, 9.2 percent were black and 1.9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, researchers wrote, with Hispanics and blacks being under-represented.

Patients also were 24 percent less likely to be black rather than white, and men were more likely than women to enlist in colorectal and lung cancer trials, researchers reported.

Elderly patients were "strikingly under-represented compared with their younger counterparts," doctors wrote, as the elderly made up one-third of participants in the trials but accounted for two-thirds of all patients with these cancers.

Researchers suggested certain barriers may exist for minority groups to enroll in trials, such as decreased trust in the healthcare system.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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