Feb 24, 2015
Clinical trials are the key to driving advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, yet it is estimated that only about 5% of patients with cancer participate in clinical trials. Cancer.Net, ASCO’s patient-information website, has teamed up with Neal Meropol, MD, Chief of Hematology and Oncology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and developer of the Preparatory Education About Clinical Trials (PRE-ACT) program, to help improve patients’ knowledge and attitudes about clinical trials.
PRE-ACT is an interactive video-based program available at cancer.net/preact that provides patients with tailored information about clinical trials in an effort to help them be better prepared to make an informed decision about clinical trial participation. In addition to providing education, the PRE-ACT program was designed to empower patients to ask questions and obtain more information.
Barriers to clinical trials
Previous research shows that multiple barriers exist when it comes to patient participation in clinical trials. Among the more frequently cited barriers ar ethe fear of side effects, concern about receiving a placebo, a lack of awareness of clinical trials, and concerns about the costs associated with participating in a clinical trial.
“We developed PRE-ACT to attempt to address patient knowledge gaps and attitudes about clinical trials before they ever see a physician to better prepare them to consider a clinical trial, should one be available and appropriate for them,” said Dr. Meropol.
With the help of funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Meropol and colleagues tested the efficacy of the PRE-ACT program in a phase III clinical trial that randomly assigned 1,255 patients to either view the PRE-ACT tailored videos or to receive general text about clinical trials from the NCI. All patientscompleted a survey to assess baseline knowledge about clinical trials, attitudes, and values.
Results of the trial showed that the PRE-ACT videos were more effective in improving patient knowledge about and attitudes toward clinical trials.There was also a trend toward greater self-reported preparedness to consider clinical trials among those patients who viewed the PRE-ACT program.
Access for all
Dr. Meropol and Cancer.Net are now making the full video library of the PREACT program available to the public for free. Since the program was originally tested, it has been enhanced and updated with new and up-to-date information.
Patients visiting Cancer.Net will have a choice of viewing the full video library or having videos recommended for them.Those who want a personalized experience can complete a survey assessing opinions and knowledge about clinical trials, values, and their decision-making process. Based on the responses, PREACT will tailor a video-based educational program for each patient.
“My hope is that by making this program available, patients who are interested in learning more about clinical trials will access PRE-ACT, and, in doing so, PRE-ACT will deliver specific video content directed at their informational needs,” said Dr. Meropol.
ASCO patient education programs are supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO.