Exploring research participation among cancer patients: Analysis of a national survey and an in-depth interview study

McGrath-Lone, Louise; Day, Sophie E.; Schoenborn, Claudia and Ward, Helen. 2015. Exploring research participation among cancer patients: Analysis of a national survey and an in-depth interview study. BMC Cancer, 15(1), 618. ISSN 1471-2407 [Article]

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Abstract or Description


Inequalities in cancer research participation are thought to exist with certain groups under-represented in research populations; however, much of the evidence is based on small-scale studies. The aim of this study was to explore data from in-depth interviews with cancer patients and a large national survey to investigate variation in who is asked to participate in research and who takes part.


Factors associated with research discussion and participation were explored in National Cancer Patient Experience Survey data using multivariate logistic regression and during in-depth interviews with 25 breast cancer patients.


Survey data were available for 66,953 cancer patients; 30.4 % reported having discussions about, and 18.9 % took part in, research. Barriers to participation at staff, patient and trust level were evident; for example, staff were less likely to discuss research with older patients, Asian and black patients were less likely to take part and patients treated at specialist or teaching trusts had higher levels of discussion and participation. Interviews showed that patients’ willingness to participate changed over time and was not synonymous with participation as some were ineligible.


Some patient groups were less likely to have discussions about or participate in research. Analysis of this variation vis-à-vis the composition of the patient population may be useful to ensure that there is equity regarding the potential benefits of research participation and that research findings are applicable to target populations in the translational model.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Patient, Black Patient, Tumour Group, Research Participation

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27 August 2015Accepted
4 September 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2016 13:57

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:04

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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