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Equality, diversity and inclusion research

We want to make sure our trials are inclusive and accessible to everyone affected by cancer, no matter their background, ethnic group or personal circumstances.

When designing trials we work with investigators to make sure that as many people as possible are able to join and access the treatments we’re studying. We run trials in hospitals across the UK and beyond, at both large cancer hospitals and smaller regional hospitals, so that participation is not restricted to those in cities. We also encourage those involved in our trials at participating hospitals to offer the trial to as many people for whom the treatments might be a suitable option as possible.

However, we recognise that there is more to do, so we have a number of projects to investigate and improve equality, diversity and inclusion in cancer:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in early phase trials

We are contributing to a study led by The University of Sheffield exploring the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in early phase trials.

Equality, diversity and inclusion audit

We conducted an audit of trial documentation for trials led by ICR-CTSU which started between 2011 and 2022. The aim of the review was to establish whether we have collected enough information about our trial participants to allow us to identify whether under-served groups are being excluded. We based our audit on the NIHR’s INCLUDE definition of underserved groups and reviewed protocols, patient information sheets, questionnaires and data collection forms.

Initial results were presented at the International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference 2022.

CASCARA - Costs And Supportive CAre in bReast cAncer

We are contributing to The Lancet Breast Cancer Commission working with Professor Charlotte Coles, Dr Indrani Bhattacharya and patient and public representatives on the CASCARA project. CASCARA will survey UK patients to explore their experiences of the hidden costs and supportive care needs associated with breast cancer.

Increasing representation of under-served groups in randomised oncology trials - MRC-NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP) Doctoral Training Partnership

Our PhD candidate will conduct a systematic review of existing literature and explore ICR-CTSU trial datasets to investigate whether any under-served groups are being systematically excluded from our trials. Working with patient representatives and relevant groups across the country they will explore approaches to trial enrolment and develop interventions to improve representation of any under-served groups.

SPRUCE - A Study within a trial (SWAT) of electronic versus paper-based Patient Reported oUtcomes CollEction

Our SPRUCE study is investigating collection methods for questionnaires completed by our trial participants. We are looking into whether online completion of questionnaires is as good as our current approach using paper questionnaires. We are continuing to offer participants the choice of paper questionnaires, rather than switching to electronic questionnaires for everyone. We will use the results of the SPRUCE study to confirm the best way to offer questionnaires to our trial participants in future. We will also investigate whether there are some groups of people who prefer to complete questionnaires on paper rather than electronically, so that we can make sure that this option is always available for those who want it.

Clinical trials