9 December 2021

Dr Simon Vincent, Director of Research, Support and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“With around 55,000 women and 370 men diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, clinical trials are critical - both in bringing some patients access to potential new treatments and to helping pave the way to new future breakthroughs.

“It's therefore extremely worrying that recruitment to breast cancer clinical trials has fallen by 45% due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's also deeply concerning that some people with cancer are deterred from participating in clinical trials because of logistical, personal and financial considerations.

“Despite significant, much needed progress made prior to it, the COVID-19 pandemic has served a significant blow to medical research with devastating impacts for people with breast cancer. This is especially the case for people with incurable secondary (metastatic) breast cancer, for whom clinical trials can offer precious extra time with their loved ones.

“In March the Government set out its clinical research strategy and ambition to improve research for patients, clinicians and researchers. While some steps have been taken to help research recover, to make this goal a reality, critical action must now be taken to support the recovery of clinical trials, underpinned by appropriate support for patients, clinicians and local systems.

“Until we have a robust clinical research system, including efficient recruitment and appropriate support for participants, we will be denying many patients the chance to benefit from the life-changing treatments and breakthroughs they so desperately need.”

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