Responding to a significant recruitment challenge within three nationwide psychoeducational trials for cancer patients

Annette L. Stanton, Marion E. Morra, Michael A. Diefenbach, Suzanne M. Miller, Rosemarie Slevin Perocchia, Peter C. Raich, Linda Fleisher, Kuang Yi Wen, Zung Vu Tran, Nihal E. Mohamed, Roshini George, Mary Anne Bright, Alfred C. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: When faced with a significant recruitment challenge for three nationwide psychoeducational trials targeting prostate and breast cancer patients, the Cancer Information Service Research Consortium initiated outreach efforts to increase accrual. Recruitment is reported by major outreach strategy to inform the use of similar campaigns, either as primary recruitment efforts or to supplement "in-reach" recruitment within oncology settings. Methods: During a 33-month period, recruitment was tracked from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service (CIS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation's Love/Avon Army of Women (AOW), Internet advertising, press releases, radio/television interviews, recruitment materials in community venues, and outreach to churches and cancer support organizations. Results: Across projects, the majority (89 %) of recruited participants (N = 2,134) was obtained from the CIS (n = 901, 19 months of recruitment), AOW (n = 869, 18 months), and ACS (n = 123, 12 months). Other efforts showed minimal gain in recruitment. Conclusions: Cancer information programs (e.g., CIS and ACS) and registries of individuals willing to participate in cancer-related research (e.g., AOW) can represent exceptional resources for outreach recruitment of cancer patients, especially when the eligibility criteria are highly restrictive. However, these resources do not yield samples representative of the larger population of adults diagnosed with cancer, and conclusions from such trials must be tempered accordingly. Implications for cancer survivors: Inadequate recruitment to randomized controlled trials limits the creation of useful interventions for cancer survivors. By enrolling in cancer registries and taking part in research, cancer survivors can contribute to the development of effective resources for the survivor population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-403
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Accrual
  • Cancer
  • Psychoeducational
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Recruitment
  • Survivorship


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