Nurse prepares for surgery.

Steps nurses can take to improve health equity in cancer clinical trials

By Megan Hollasch, Oncology Nursing News

A key component of health equity includes ensuring that clinical trials reflect subgroups of patients who are more reflective of real-world populations, according to Faith Mutale, DNP, CRNP. Mutale’s presentation “Minorities in Cancer Clinical Trials: 30 Years after the NIH Revitalization Act: Where Are We?” given at the 40th Annual CFS® highlighted the importance of representation in trials and building trust in the community.

Mutale said that clinical trials are not accurately representing the general population because inclusion of minorities is very low. She cited prostate cancer data demonstrating that between 2006 to 2020, demographics of patients in clinical trials were 2.9% African American, 7.9% Asian, and 76% Caucasian despite that fact that African Americans make up 13.4% of the population and have a higher ratio, 1:6, of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, in this time frame, 1 in 5 agents had differences in exposure/response based on race.

“The issues with under representation of minorities in cancer clinical trials are not insurmountable,” Mutale said. “But there has to be recognition of the fact that these issues cannot be solely dealt with by policymakers, legislators, or even other stakeholders such as advocacy groups. Advanced practice providers should step up and become part of stakeholders to increase the growth of minority participation in these trials.”

In an interview with Oncology Nursing News®, Mutale, a nurse practitioner in Head and Neck and Thoracic Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center in Pennsylvania, explained steps that can be taken by the nurse to work towards achieving health equity. Read more …