I am heading to San Francisco where I will take part in the SWOG Semi-Annual Meeting. To those who might be unfamiliar with us, SWOG is a group funded by the National Cancer Institute and is part of the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). We run clinical trials across disease sites and scenarios, from prevention to treatment to survivorship and palliative care. SWOG members travel from all across the country twice a year to meet, learn, teach, and plan—all of this in the most interactive way possible, in as inclusive a way that we can imagine. Thanks to the leadership in our Patient Advocacy group (shout out to Wendy Lawton and Rick Bangs!), this includes patient advocates, who are embedded more and more into aspects of trial design at the earliest point.
The goal is to launch clinical trials across the country, and once that happens, to ensure they successfully accrue. We spend a lot of time trying to improve accrual—from making sure our investigators open as many trials as possible, supporting them once that happens, and then, to ensure patients are made aware of them in as “non-scientific lingo” as possible. Yet, I have come to recognize (though not the first time) that we as clinicians can sometimes be our own barriers to accrual.