Why Black Women Should Enroll in Endometrial Cancer Clinical Trials

Why Black Women Should Enroll in Endometrial Cancer Clinical Trials.

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More women of all races are dying of endometrial cancer, but the rate is much higher for Black women. White women’s rate went up by 0.6 per 100,000 people between 1990-94 to 2015-2019. The rate of death among Black women is three times that, at 1.9 per 100,000 during the same time.

Studies have shown that Black women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with more advanced endometrial cancer and less likely to get the best treatment. This is due in part to barriers like lack of insurance or lower income. 

Taking part in clinical trials (research studies) can help reduce these differences, giving patients who are at risk the best chance at getting a new, advanced medication. 

In most clinical trials, patients do not pay a dime for treatment. These hospital-led studies are safe, and we will explain everything you can expect before you enroll. What we learn helps improve current cancer care and leads to better treatment for everyone.

For instance, there are two endometrial cancer studies now underway at MedStar Washington Hospital Center:

One of the first steps to increasing enrollment of Black women in clinical trials is to understand—and break down—barriers that currently prevent them from joining.  

Understanding disparities in uterine cancer.

Several things contribute to lower-quality outcomes in endometrial cancer care for Black patients. For example, Black women are more likely than white women to have a hysterectomy for endometrial cancer. And Black women have the lowest survival rate of any group.

To find out why, researchers interviewed 15 Black women with endometrial cancer. They found these patients:

  • Did not know bleeding wasn’t normal during or after menopause and could be a sign of endometrial cancer
  • Did not discuss bleeding symptoms with family members or healthcare providers 
  • Got vague responses from providers when they did have these conversations
  • Waited longer to start treatment due to the shock and awe of receiving a cancer diagnosis

Research also shows unconscious, or implicit, bias in clinical trial enrollment. A study conducted across five U.S. cancer centers revealed that trial recruiters felt challenged by interacting with patients from historically minoritized groups. As a result, trial opportunities were sometimes withheld due to limited time and negative personal perceptions.

Addressing bias can improve enrollment, help make study outcomes better, and help reduce differences in cancer care. When it comes to endometrial cancer, the more Black women who enroll in research, the better our chances will be to help more Black women have better outcomes.  

Related reading: How Race, Neighborhood, and More Play a Part in Endometrial Cancer Disparities.

How enrolling in a study benefits women.

Efforts over the last decade have led to big improvements in clinical trial safety and openness. Doctors and nurses involved in the research monitor patients’ health closely throughout the study. Care you get in a clinical trial is at no cost to you. 

Other personal benefits of enrolling include:

  • A chance to access the latest treatments, including those not available to people who are not participating in the trial.
  • If the treatment being studied is more effective than the standard treatment, you’ll get the best care sooner.
  • Research you participate in today can help scientists learn more about endometrial cancer and develop treatments that can benefit people in the future.
Enrolling can also help level the playing field by moving closer toward research that’s equitable for everyone.

  • Diverse studies yield more realistic data. Studies that mirror society’s racial and ethnic makeup lead to data that include all women’s experiences and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Diversity supports discovery. When we understand how a new treatment effects all sorts of people, the knowledge gained from research benefits everyone.
  • More people, better research. Studies are stopped if too few people enroll. Increasing enrollment among underrepresented groups can help solve this problem.

To help achieve equity in healthcare, doctors and patients both have a role to play. Diverse enrollment in clinical trials is one step toward making care for Black women’s endometrial cancer care more equal.

Discover endometrial cancer clinical trials at MedStar Health.

Learn more about research and enroll.

Endometrial Cancer Trials

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