Women with ovarian cancer continue to experience variable access to clinical trials across the UK, according to new research by Target Ovarian Cancer.
The research found significant gaps in access to ovarian cancer clinical trials, with ten times more women recruited to trials in some areas of the UK than others. Although access has improved in the last year, just six per cent of women with ovarian cancer are participating in trials in some areas, compared to 61 per cent in better-performing regions.
Target Ovarian Cancer's Pathfinder study found that one in four women with ovarian cancer has taken part in a clinical trial at some point during their treatment - and yet over half of women who are not on a trial say they would like to join one1. Clinical trials offer women access to potential new cancer drugs, involving them in research aimed at improving treatment options. More broadly, evidence suggests that people who take part in clinical trials have improved survival rates, regardless of whether they receive a new treatment or the standard treatment.
Target Ovarian Cancer will present its findings to the British Gynaecological Cancer Society (BGCS) today at their annual conference in Glasgow. The research also asked clinicians about barriers to better participation in clinical trials. Staff shortages and especially shortages of research nurses continue to be a challenge, followed by a lack of financial support from NHS Trusts. Other reasons include doctors too busy to be able to devote time to clinical trials recruitment, and the fact that ovarian cancer clinical trials can be complex to set up in smaller hospitals. Target Ovarian Cancer’s award-winning Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials Information Centre is an essential tool in helping more women access existing trials.
Annwen Jones, Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “We know that good access to clinical trials is incredibly important to women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, both now and for the future. Although access to clinical trials has generally improved this year, it is patchy at best, and it is disappointing to see a postcode lottery of access. Women with ovarian cancer deserve better.”
Nicola Jones from the Wirral, is participating in a clinical trial at the Clatterbridge Hospital. She said: “It is really important to me that everyone with ovarian cancer has the choice to go on a clinical trial. I jumped at the opportunity to take part - not only to receive the best care, but also because I hope the findings will help women with ovarian cancer in future.”
Find out more
- Clinical trials research poster BGCS 2017 - click to download our poster on regional variation in clinical trials participation for ovarian cancer in the UK
- Visit the Target Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials Information Centre to find trials near you
- Fund our work to help more women with ovarian cancer access clinical trials
1. Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder study - clinical trials. Available at http://www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/our-campaigns/pathfinder-2016/pathfinder-2016-transforming-futures-women-ovarian-cancer/pathfinder-4