Most Americans are unaware that race impacts access to care and how long a patient with cancer may be able to survive, according to the results of a recent survey.

The survey was administered online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and was completed by 4012 adults who have never been diagnosed with cancer and 1142 adults who have. All survey participants were US residents and completed the survey between July 21, 2020, and September 8, 2020.

Specifically, the survey showed that most participants agreed that racism can impact care received (59%) and felt that Black Americans were less likely to have access to the same quality of cancer care as White Americans (53%).

Yet, only 1 in 4 Americans responded that race impacts the likelihood of accessing the best possible cancer care and 1 in 5 that race impacts the likelihood of surviving cancer.


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Non-White respondents appeared most aware of this disparity, with 41% of Black Americans and 28% of Hispanic Americans responding that race impacts access compared with only 20% of White Americans. Also, 27% of Black Americans and 22% of Hispanic Americans responded that race impacts cancer survival — and only 16% of White Americans responded this ways.

The survey also revealed “major” delays in cancer screening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: Approximately one-quarter of adults have delayed or canceled routine cancer screening tests. Often this was the person’s decision (66%), but most people who delayed or canceled their screening were concerned about being behind on their cancer screenings (63%).

Respondents were also asked about clinical trials, which revealed poor overall understanding. Half of adults believe cancer patients who participate in clinical trials are not receiving the best possible cancer care and are just part of an “experiment.” Three-quarters of adults believe some cancer patients who participate in clinical trials may receive a placebo and not actual treatment.

Despite these responses, most adults said they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial for a cancer treatment if they had cancer (75%).

Reference

ASCO 2020 Cancer Opinions Survey: COVID-19 and Cancer Care, Health Inequities in Cancer Care, Clinical Trial Myths, Key Trends. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Published September 2020. Accessed October 3, 2020.