Becker’s Hospital Review: Survival disparities between rural, urban cancer patients cut when enrolled in clinical trials

EXCERPT: “The differences in survival rates between rural and urban cancer patients are significantly reduced when patients are enrolled in a cancer clinical trial, a study published in JAMA Network Open found. CDC statistics show a significant disparity in cancer deaths. Between 2011 and 2015, 180 people out of 100,000 died of cancer in rural areas, compared to 158 people out of 100,000 in urban areas. The analysis by SWOG, an international cancer clinical trials network formerly called the Southwest Oncology Group that is funded by the National Cancer Institute, found the difference in survival rates is due to the types of care these patients receive. ‘These findings were a surprise, since we thought we might find the same disparities others had found,’ study author Joseph Unger, PhD, said in a news release. ‘But clinical trials are a key difference here. In trials, patients are uniformly assessed, treated and followed under a strict, guideline-driven protocol. This suggests that giving people with cancer access to uniform treatment strategies could help resolve the disparities in outcomes that we see between rural and urban patients.'” FULLSTORY: