While the decision whether or not to enroll in a clinical trial of a novel cancer treatment is ultimately very personal, a clear understanding of the nature of clinical trials can help you make the choice that’s right for you. Once you carefully weigh the pros and cons of clinical trials, you’ll be prepared to make a thoughtful and informed decision that supports your cancer treatment plan.

A clear understanding of what clinical trials are is a good place to start:

Cancer clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness and safety of new cancer drugs or cancer treatment strategies. The development of more effective cancer treatment requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. Each clinical trial is designed to find new or better ways to treat cancer patients. In oncology, clinical trials are especially important because, in the absence of high cure rates, nearly all cancer treatment approaches are developmental in nature. All new cancer drugs that are currently available in the United States were once only available in clinical trials. In the U.S. all new cancer treatment products must proceed through an orderly clinical trials evaluation process to ensure that they have an acceptable level of safety and demonstrate benefit to patients with a specific cancer before they become commercially available to other patients.

Understanding the pros and cons of clinical trials in oncology may help you decide whether or not participation in a clinical trial is an appropriate choice, but it’s important to remember that the decision is entirely your own. In other words, you shouldn’t feel pressure from any outside sources to enroll in a clinical trial. If you do choose to participate or further research clinical trial opportunities, you may wish to discuss with your physician the potential risks and benefits of these studies as well as your other treatment options.  

For additional information about clinical trials and what trials are currently open, please click on the links below:

https://www.clinicaltrial.gov/

http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials