Understanding Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are a critical component in expanding treatment options for people with all types of cancer. Because all new therapies must be evaluated through clinical trials, the greater the number of people who participate, the faster emerging anticancer therapies can be brought to patients. Clinical trials are also important because they offer hope to people with cancer by providing access to promising new therapies not yet available outside the study.
Clinical trials are designed by physicians and researchers and are conducted according to strict scientific and ethical principles. Before the study begins, a protocol is developed describing what will be done in the study, how it will be conducted and why each part of the study is necessary. This research protocol is reviewed by third party experts to make sure that study is conducted fairly and that patients are well-informed of their rights. Each study has eligibility criteria for who can or cannot participate in the study, which may include type of cancer, age, gender, medical history and current health status.
Please call us for an up-to-date list of trials currently being held at our practice, or you may search a list of clinical trials we have available through the US Oncology Research network.
- Patients have access to promising new therapies not yet available outside the study. These therapies are being studied because doctors hope they will prove more effective or less toxic that the standard treatment.
- Patients can play an active role in their cancer care by expanding their treatment options.
- Patients who participate in clinical trials receive first-rate medical care during the trial and throughout treatment. Their overall health is closely monitored.
- By participating in clinical trials that can help bring new treatment to market, patients are contributing to the greater knowledge of cancer that may help other cancer patients in the future.
- Participants in randomized studies will not be able to choose the approach they receive.
- Health insurance and managed care providers may not cover all patient care costs in a study.
- Therapies under study are not always better than the standard care.
- New treatments may have unknown side effects or risks.
Patients considering participation in a clinical trial will receive important facts about the study's purpose and what is involved, such as the tests and other procedures used, possible risks and benefits. Should a patient decide to participate, he or she will be asked to sign a written consent form that outlines the details of the study prior to beginning the trial. However, participation in the trial is completely voluntary and patients may stop at any time.
If you would like more information, you may speak to your oncologist about the available clinical trials.