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Attitudes Toward Cancer Clinical Trial Participation in Young Adults with a History of Cancer and a Healthy College Student Sample: A Preliminary Investigation


Purpose: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15-39 at diagnosis have very low cancer clinical trial accrual rates. To date, no studies have examined attitudes toward clinical trial participation in this age range to determine if certain individuals are less likely to enroll if offered participation. The current study assessed attitudes toward participation using the Cancer Treatment Subscale of the Attitudes toward Cancer Trials Scales. Methods: Data were collected from a sample of leukemia and lymphoma survivors (n=99) and a healthy college student sample (n=397). Following a principal components analysis, two subscales-Personal Barriers/Safety and Personal Benefits-were retained for analysis. Results: In the cancer survivor group, only 14 (13.3%) reported being offered participation in a cancer clinical trial, and only 8 of those 14 (7.6% of survivors) participated. Responses from leukemia and lymphoma survivors revealed no significant relationships between age, gender, race/ethnicity, clinical trial participation, insurance status, or social class with Personal Benefits or Personal Barriers/Safety. Healthy college females had more negative Personal Barriers/Safety attitudes compared to males after adjusting for race/ethnicity and social class (p=0.01), but no associations were present when examining Personal Benefits as an outcome. Conclusion: This preliminary investigation suggests that drivers of attitudes toward clinical trial participation in AYAs are not well understood and may impact cancer trial participation. Future work should focus on defining attitudes toward cancer clinical trials in the AYA population and developing interventions to increase awareness, knowledge, and positive attitudes toward participating in cancer research.

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