How to Talk to Patients About Clinical Trials for Colorectal Cancer

By Cecilia Brown, Mary B. Morgan, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCN, Tammy Triglianos, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP - Last Updated: November 15, 2023

As care for colorectal cancer advances, it remains critical to inform patients about clinical trial options and help them understand if participating in a clinical trial could be a good option for them.

Mary B. Morgan, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCN, of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Tammy Triglianos, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP, of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, explained how they approach clinical trials.

“The institution I work at offers a lot of clinical trials,” Ms. Morgan said. “We have a dedicated research person at our facility—which is a satellite location—and we do have him screen just about everybody who walks through the door.”

Ms. Morgan spoke about how she addresses questions and concerns about clinical trials that patients may have, emphasizing the importance of helping patients overcome potential misconceptions about participating in clinical trials.

“This is all [involving] really well-thought-out regimens, and plans, and medications,” Ms. Morgan said. “I do think education is really the key with clinical research and getting people to agree to be on trials.”

Ms. Morgan also spoke about where she sees another potential barrier to clinical trial participation for many patients.

“There [are] a lot of exclusion criteria or inclusion criteria, which drops a lot of our patients out,” Ms. Morgan said. “They may be willing to do it, but… the inclusion and exclusion criteria has really become so fine that a lot of times people just don’t qualify.”

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