Researchers from South Australia need your input on what works well (and what needs improvement) with cancer clinical trials in Australia.


A team of researchers led by Professor Ian Olver AO, from the University of South Australia are running a research project that seeks to understand the pathway followed by cancer patients participating in clinical trials.

The project, funded by Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project, aims to identify what aspects of cancer clinical trials are working well in Australia and which need improvements. Currently, the project is running a survey, which aims to explore participant’s experiences in cancer clinical trials, with the goal of identifying where additional support might be required.

According to Greg Sharplin, UniSA Senior Research Fellow and Research and Strategy Manager at the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, understanding patients’ experience through clinical trials is an essential aspect to inform best practice.

“Every day, nearly 400 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Australia. While our survival rates are among the best in the world, clinical trials are fundamental to developing new and more effective cancer treatments,” Sharplin said in a press release.

“While there are many barriers to trial participation, few have been researched from a patient perspective, which leave us in the dark when it comes to creating better experiences – our study aims to change this,” he added.

Cancer is a major problem in Australia, with 144,700 new cases diagnosed in 2019, and about 139 people dying from cancer every day, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. If you manage to reach 85 years of age, you have a 50% chance of been diagnosed with some form of cancer.

Clinical trials offer access to potentially life-saving new drugs and treatments not currently available in mainstream health care. But, there are still some barriers that patients face before they can take part of a clinical trial.

“Working with people who have participated in cancer trials we know that an awareness of the trials themselves is a massive issue. If clinicians and patients aren’t aware of the range of clinical trials on offer, it’s impossible for them to take part,” Professor Olver said.

“By talking with clinical trial participants, we’re hoping to learn more about how they were informed and supported, both before, during and after their treatment,” he added.

How you can help
Researchers are currently looking for participants to share their experience with cancer clinical trials. If you or a patient in your practice has taken part in a cancer clinical trial you can contribute to this research project. According to the project website,

“If you are the primary carer of someone who meets these criteria you may complete this survey on their behalf. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. We are interested in your experiences and so there are no right or wrong answers. All questions are voluntary.”

To provide feedback or to learn more about this project, go to: https://redcap.link/sacancertrials