Gender balance in cancer surveys was found to have relatively little effect on survey outcomes, according to results of a study presented at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Surveying patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) has given valuable insight into polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), and myelofibrosis (MF) subtypes. However, independent surveys have included a disproportionate number of women even though the MPN patient population is well-balanced. This study sought to evaluate the effect of gender imbalance in MPN surveys by evaluating data from 5 anonymous web-based surveys.

The 5 studies were conducted between 2014 and 2020 and included sample sizes between 507 and 1400 participants.

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In total, 4962 patients completed a survey, among whom 74% were women. The proportion of men with PV was 31%, ET was 15%, and MF was 37%. Within each individual survey, the proportion of men who responded ranged from 20% to 32%.

The gender imbalance accounted for a 3.1% overestimation in the overall Total Symptom Score (TSS) and a 6.8% underestimation in mean difference in TSS between genders. Within each survey, the relative bias in TSS ranged from 2.55% to 3.44%.

This study found that although participants in MPN survey studies were highly biased towards women, the overall effect of the bias was relatively low. The study authors concluded that more effort in reducing participation gender bias is needed in the design of future studies and more research is needed to evaluate effective gender bias reducing strategies.


Langlais B, Mazza GL, Scherber RM, et al. Impact of imbalanced gender participation in online myeloproliferative neoplasm symptom surveys. J Clin Oncol. 2022;40(suppl 16; abstr e19078). doi:10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.e19078

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor