Clinical trials participation is directly influenced by the information received by cancer patients (pts) and caregivers: Real-world evidence with the use of a specialized digital health platform.

Researched by Belong.Life and published by ASCO

Authors: Keren Greenfeld-Barsky, Lior Hasid, Daniel A. Vorobiof, Eliran Malki

Background:
Clinical trials (CT) participation is both crucial for medical advancement and an important treatment option, at times the only one, for oncological pts. However, only an estimate of ~3% of cancer pts worldwide enrolls into such trials. Different factors have been implicated in underlying this low participation rate, with little current data on patients’ own perspective. In this study, pts & caregivers’ perception, knowledge and experience with CT were assessed via a unique digital health platform.


Methods:
290 American and Israeli members of Belong.life cancer application (app) anonymously & voluntarily replied to a 10 questions survey detailing their demographics, diagnosis, and experience with CT as a treatment option.


Results:
234 participants were pts (81%) and 56 (19%) caregivers. 73% of participants were US based. 35 participants (12%) were < 50 years of age (yoa), 94 (32%) were 50-59 yoa, 117 (40%) were 60-69 and 44 (15%) were > 70 yoa. There were 79 males and 211 females.The most common diagnosis was breast cancer in 74 (26%), hematologic in 36 (12%), lung in 35 (12%), colorectal in 26 (9%) and ovarian in 26 (9%). Stages were 4 in 117 (40%) and 3 in 52 (18%), early (1&2) in 73 (25%). 134 (46%) have not heard about CT participation as a treatment option. Among 125 participants of the 134 who were not familiar with CT as a treatment option, 115 (92%) stated they would like to learn more about it. Among the 156 participants who were acquainted with this option, 52 (33%) heard about it from medical staff, 41(26%) from multiple online resources, and 39 (25%) only through the Belong.life app. Only 23 participants (8%) previously participated in a CT. The most common reason for not participating was not being offered this treatment option (55, 49%) followed by lack of suitable trials for their condition (26, 23%). The most common reason for considering it was to receive an innovative treatment (60, 44%).


Conclusions:
Almost half of the pts and caregivers were not aware of CT participation as a valid treatment option. Among them, nearly all have expressed an interest to be better informed. This significant dissonance was also evident among those aware but who were not offered to participate, while expressing a favorable perception regarding participation. While the medical staff is a key source for CT awareness, and whilst patients are exposed to multiple online sources of information, this survey confirmed that 25% of Belong.life members received information about CT availability and participation singly from the app and 8% of them actively participated in a clinical trial. In sum, emphasis should be placed on providing personally tailored CT information to all cancer patients and caregivers. Digital health platforms are an important source for patients CT awareness.

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Belong.Life is a leading global tech provider of high-engagement patient communities and care platforms, supporting millions of patients worldwide.

Among Belong.Life’s brands are the world’s largest social and professional networks for cancer patients (Belong – Beating Cancer Together) and multiple sclerosis patients (BelongMS), as well as i-Belong, BelongIBD, BelongPSOCoronApp (select countries), and more.

Belong.Life’s mission is to improve quality of life and quality of care worldwide through technology, engagement, data, and AI.

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