The Cancer Trial Paradox – Too Few Patients to Some, Too Few Trials to Others
Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, a former mining town, sees over 600 new cancer patients each year. That’s a lot for a town of just 50,000 people – about three times the national average – but Joplin is a medical hub for dozens of surrounding towns in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Despite the influx of patients, Mercy has historically had very limited access to clinical trials, which are often patients’ best hope for cutting-edge cancer treatments. Joplin was typically too small to attract drug companies or academics and too far from major research centers in surrounding larger cities for most patients to make the trip as often as needed.