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Keywords:

  • traditional chinese medicine;
  • patient participation;
  • Asian Americans;
  • clinical trials

Abstract

Under-representation of minority and female participants prompted the U.S. legislature to mandate the inclusion of women and minorities in federally funded research. Recruitment of minorities to participate in clinical trials continues to be challenging. Although Asian Americans constitute one of the major minority groups in the U.S., published literature contains sparse data concerning the participation of Asian Americans in cancer clinical trials. The authors completed qualitative, semistructured interviews with 34 participants: Chinese-American female cancer patients ages 20–85 years or their family members. Interviews were conducted in Cantonese, Mandarin, or English and were audiotaped. Chinese interviews were translated into English, and all interviews were transcribed subsequently into English. A team of five coders individually reviewed then met to discuss the English transcripts. The authors used the constant comparative technique throughout the entire coding process as part of the analysis. Among participants, 62% lacked any knowledge of clinical trials, and many expressed negative attitudes toward clinical trials. Barriers to participation included inadequate resources, language issues, and a lack of financial and social support. Facilitating factors included recommendations by a trusted oncologist or another trusted individual and information in the appropriate language. It is noteworthy that family members played an important role in the cancer experience of these participants. To promote participation, there is a need to increase knowledge of clinical trials among Chinese cancer patients. It also is necessary to examine the applicability of current patient-physician communication and interaction models. In addition, decision-making based on Asian philosophies within the context of Euro-American bioethics requires further study. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.