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Examining Barriers to Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trials in Pennsylvania from a Geographic Perspective

Authors: Moira Conway*, Kutztown University, Diana Malandruccolo, Arcadia University, Jennifer Hinkel, University of Oxford
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Applied Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: GIS, Health, Cancer, Pennsylvania
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Clinical trials offer the best management of cancer patients according to National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Despite this, patient participation in trials remains low. One of the problems identified in literature is spatial. Clinical trials are less likely to be located in rural areas. Using a case study of Pennsylvania, we assess geographic accessibility to oncology treatment trials in Pennsylvania. Using a state and county-level lens in one state and focusing on Ovarian cancer, we use GIS methods to identify areas that are vulnerable to Ovarian cancer, with limited access to clinical trials. GIS methods are used to map and rank counties based on four variables- number of clinical trials, number of cases of Ovarian cancer, race, and poverty status. These were combined to determine each county’s overall vulnerability to Ovarian cancer. Results from the analysis shows that the most vulnerable counties are rural, but other factors should be considered as well, such as socioeconomic status. Quantifying geographic and socioeconomic hurdles to clinical trial participation may illuminate potential changes to policy or practice that could improve rural access. Counties with vulnerability can be targeted for intervention. The GIS methods used for this project can be applied to other areas and various health issues to examine potential problems with access to treatment.

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