Clinical trials are vital in discovering new treatment options and making technological advancements. To be considered for participation in clinical trials, patients have usually exhausted other treatment options, have a specific type of cancer, or have a rare type of cancer.

When considering clinical trial participation keep these things in mind:

  • Clinical trials have strict guidelines. Make sure you read them carefully, and ask questions about what you do not understand. 
  • Although you may leave the trial at any time, it is important to be committed to staying for the duration of the trial. 
  • Clinical trials vary in length. After joining, you will need to work with your doctor to accommodate plans such as vacations or work schedules. 
  • Consider the possible benefits of the trial, and make sure they outweigh the possible side effects and risks.
  • Clinical trials may affect your daily life.  Be sure you are prepared for the possible shifts in your daily routines.
  • Find out if you will have to pay for any of the treatments and what costs your insurance will cover.
  • Learn about the treatments involved and how the doctors will check to see if they are working.

Depending on the clinical trial phase, you may be one of the first to receive a specific treatment. Many cancer patients have experienced great success from being among the first to receive a new treatment.

After you are chosen to participate in a clinical trial, you may be selected to be a part of the control group and receive a placebo. Being part of the control group varies in terms of treatments received. You may continue to receive the same treatment you were having before joining the clinical trial, or you may not receive any treatment at all. When assessing the risks and benefits of being part of a clinical trial, it is also important to find out what treatment the control group receives.

If you would like to be considered for participation in a clinical trial, talk with your doctor or visit the National Cancer Institute to find a trial.