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Clinical Trials Are Key in Identifying, Eliminating Cancer Disparities

By Lisa Newman, MD, MPH, FACS, FASCO

Cancer clinical trials can be a patient's biggest safeguard when it comes to avoiding disparities, according to Lisa Newman, MD, MPH, FACS, FASCO, director of breast surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. 

Because of the strict regulations around how they must be conducted, clinical trials offer quality, state-of-the-art treatment that allow virtually no room for discriminatory practices. Further, Newman explained that research is important because it is the "most powerful weapon" in identifying high-level evidence on outcome differences between populations.


Clinical trials research is extremely important from the perspective of studying cancer outcome disparities, because of the very tightly regulated clinical trials mechanism participating in the clinical trials is actually one of the best safeguards a patient can pursue in making sure that they receive highest quality most advanced state of the art treatment because participating in a clinical trial should standardize the treatment that a patient is receiving and it should provide the best safeguards in making sure there a no biases or discriminatory practices that enter into the delivery of that care. So clinical trials are extremely important from the patient perspective. 

In terms of research questions, it's also very important because it's our most powerful weapon in identifying high-level evidence regarding the causes of differences in the outcome of cancer-related to any number of factors; patient's racial/ethnic identity, tumor biology, genetics, this is how  we learn the best mechanisms for advancing care.      

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