WHAT DO KIDS KNOW?
ANCHOR LEAD: CHILDREN WITH CANCER ENROLLED IN CLINICAL TRIALS MAY NOT UNDERSTAND MUCH ABOUT THE STUDY IN WHICH THEY’RE PARTICIPATING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Most children with cancer will be asked to participate in a clinical trial and many of them will do so. Such high enrollment has played a huge role in improving the prognosis for childhood cancers so dramatically. Yet a study by Yoram Unguru, a pediatric oncologist who’s also a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins, has shown that kids aren’t really getting it when they’re asked to enroll.
UNGURU: We’ve got about 70% of kids who at any given time in the course of their treatment end up enrolling in a clinical trial. I conducted a study looking at children who are enrolled in pediatric clinical oncology trials. I found out that the vast majority of children didn’t understand their doctor when he or she spoke to them at the time they were asked to assent, meaning agree to participate in their trial, over half the kids didn’t know they were enrolled in a research trial even though they were told that or had remembered hearing that. :31
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.