Cancer patients' fears related to clinical trial participation: A qualitative study

Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Alexis Koskan, Kristen J. Wells, Luis E. Gonzalez, Cathy D. Meade, Christie L. Pratt Pozo, Paul B. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Patient-related barriers have hindered cancer patients' abilities to participate in the decision-making processes to participate in clinical trials. However, little is known about patients' emotional barrier of fear and how physicians influence this barrier. We conducted 48 in-depth interviews with cancer patients to determine their knowledge and attitudes about participating in clinical trials, transcribed interviews verbatim, and qualitatively analyzed the transcripts using content analysis. For the purpose of this manuscript, we focused on findings related to the role of the emotional barrier of fear in cancer patients' perceptions of participating in clinical trials. The majority of cancer patients (n040, 83.3%) discussed fears surrounding clinical trials, particularly as it related to cancer diagnosis, clinical trial participation, and fear of the unknown. In conclusion, providers might consider addressing the role of fear in patients' considering participating in a clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer clinical trials
  • Decision making
  • Fear
  • Patient-provider communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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