Despite the disproportionate cancer burden in the African-American community there is inadequate representation of blacks and other racial/ethnic minorities in cancer research. This makes it difficult to understand the biologic basis for any disparities that exist. One way to improve recruitment is to design studies that are more inclusive or that ask questions relevant to specific populations. Researchers also need to design studies for “real world” populations and stop excluding patients who have certain diseases or comorbidities, particularly when those diseases are concentrated in communities of color.

Studies have shown that racial/ethnic minorities and other underserved populations, such as those living in rural areas and the poor, are less likely to be recruited into research studies. However, having diverse representation in cancer clinical trials is vital to understand whether treatments work the same biologically in each population and to address any barriers to care that exist due to geography or poverty.

OCHE is committed to gaining a better understanding of the barriers and disparities that exist in cancer research. It is our hope that the voices of ALL patients are heard, and that everyone can benefit from advances in cancer care.