Survey: Cancer Patients and Survivors Embrace Telehealth

Technology Offers Potential to Remove Access Barriers and Increase Clinical Trial Participation

October 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—October 28, 2021—A new survey shows cancer patients and recent survivors have had a positive experience using telehealth in the wake of the pandemic and are willing to use or adapt to using telehealth services in the future.

According to a new Survivor Views survey from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), an overwhelming 94% of patients said their issues and questions were addressed well through their telehealth visit with two-thirds saying their issues were very well addressed. Most respondents reported having had a phone visit with a telehealth provider about an issue directly related to their cancer care (55%) while some (43%) said they used a video visit. Those in urban areas were more apt to use video (55%) while those in rural areas were more likely to use the telephone visits (64%).

“Considering the numerous challenges this pandemic has posed to patient care, the positive experience and high utilization of telehealth is one of the few bright spots,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “We need lawmakers to do everything they can to ensure this kind of broad patient access to high quality telehealth services continues and is available to everyone who wants to use it no matter their income or location.”

Patients’ positive experiences are reflected in their clear willingness to adopt other technologies to facilitate remote care. More than 80% of respondents said they would use technologies, including health apps and wearable technology to manage their care if provided. The most popular adaption offered would eliminate a pharmacy trip, with 88% of patients saying they would be eager to have oral cancer drugs delivered to their homes.

The survey also examined patient willingness to enroll in clinical trials. Seventy-seven percent said they would like to participate in a trial if it was as simple as their regular care and nearly half of respondents expressed a willingness to join even if it required more visits or additional travel distance. This willingness was income dependent, however, confirming an ongoing source of disparities in clinical trial participation. Among those whose incomes were above $125,000, 62% expressed a willingness to go through extra effort to be in a clinical trial, while 41% of those making under $70,000 were willing to do so. Financial considerations were further reflected by the finding that 79% of respondents said they would be more likely to participate in a clinical trial located outside of their local area if the trial sponsor helped to organize or pay for travel and lodging, and 50% would be much more likely to do so.

“These data suggest we have a real opportunity to make clinical trial participation easier for all patients by removing barriers to participation, including through the use of telehealth technologies and reducing out-of-pocket costs,” said Lacasse. “Clinical trials are essential for continuing to improve cancer prevention, detection, and treatment and often offer the best course of treatment, especially for difficult to treat forms of the disease. The survey results reinforce the need for policy change to reflect the benefit of telehealth and its potential for facilitating critical cancer research and extending the availability and ease of quality medical care to patients everywhere.”

Read the full polling memo.

Media Contacts

Allison Miller
Director, Media Advocacy
Washington, D.C.
Alissa Crispino
Vice President, Advocacy Communications & Policy
Washington, D.C.