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Last week was the third annual Clinical Trial Awareness Week, during which the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness promoted clinical trials and efforts to make them more know among the general public. New healthcare technologies need clinical trials before they're available as treatment options, so the importance of the studies cannot be overstated. As part of their efforts, the CCTA hosted a Health Policy Roundtable at the US Capitol Visitor's Center, during which attendees, including the Colon Cancer Alliance, heard about the ways that the federal government can raise the public’s awareness of the benefits of clinical trials.   [caption id="attachment_6023" align="alignright" width="120"] This post was written by William-Jose Velez Gonzalez, Communications & Innovation Coordinator.[/caption] During this discussion, we heard about how clinical trials have staggeringly low participation rates, with 11% of study sites failing to enroll even a single patient. That means one out of every 10 studies cannot find a single person to test potentially life-saving new technologies. Furthermore, 37% of sites do not meet their enrollment goals, which means the study cannot be completed as there will not be enough data. Other bits of worrying data provided by the CCTA include the fact that 40% of surveyed adults do not understand what clinical trials are, and that only 32% would consider participating. The information provided in the roundtable also reflects findings the Colon Cancer Alliance has seen in its own surveys. For instance, 64% of survey respondents for a colon cancer immuno-oncology survey, had not discussed clinical trials with a healthcare provider. These alarming statistics show a general lack of awareness and understanding of clinical trials, and what they mean for diseases like colon cancer.

The problem

During the roundtable discussion, a particular issue became the focus point for the conversation: the lack of easily accessible information regarding clinical trials and how to enroll. This is leading the CCTA to call for a federally funded awareness campaign for clinical trials, that enable the public at large to learn about what these studies are and why they should participate. Tools like ClinicalTrials.gov were cited for their expansive breadth of information, but difficulty of use and access. Particularly from a patient viewpoint, there is no easy way to find clinical trials suitable for patients across the board, which is not helping the situation.

Moving forward

At the Colon Cancer Alliance, we were proud to join in the CCTA's efforts last week. We did so aware of the difficulty patients face finding reliable information, but also confident in our ability to play role in addressing the problem. Our Clinical Trial Finder stands as an important first step in helping colon cancer patients, family members and caregivers find possible trials suitable for them. However, our efforts won't end there. We will continue to pursue initiatives, campaigns and education efforts that increase clinical trial awareness through research, patient and family support and advocacy avenues whenever possible. Stay tuned as we unveil new projects and efforts aimed at educating our community and the public about clinical trials.

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