LEICESTER, England, March 27 (UPI) -- British patients say cancer trial informational leaflets are too long and incomprehensible to be of much use, researchers found.
Study author Mary Dixon-Woods of the University of Leicester in England and colleagues traced cancer trial information sheets over 13 cancer trials.
The researchers interviewed 26 patients who were approached to take part in trials and were given the information sheets.
"We found that research ethics committee examine information sheets very carefully. They are genuinely keen to make sure that patients are not misled in any way and that the information sheets are easy to read. They very often ask researchers to make changes to make sure they are suitable," Dr. Natalie Armstrong, the study author, said in a statement.
"The problem is that information sheets are trying to do too many things. They end up having many of the features of a legal contract. Patients often find them far too long and incomprehensible, and even intimidating."
In fact, many patients believed the information sheets were not produced for their benefit, but were more about researchers and institutions "covering their backs," Armstrong said.
One patient in the study said: "There was a lot of jargon that didn't really necessarily need to be in there. I think that there was a lot of information that sort of baffled you."
The findings were published in the journal Sociology of Health and Illness.