Cancer Clinical Trials
About Clinical Trials
Breakthrough treatments, drug innovations give hope
A cancer clinical trial offers you today's newest drugs and potential breakthrough treatments, before they become widely available. These treatments are covered by insurance in most cases and you have the opportunity to get this care right here in our area.
Talk with your doctor
The more you know about cancer clinical trials, the easier your choice will be. We encourage you to have conversations with your doctor about all treatment options, including clinical trials.
Deciding to Participate
- By participating in a cancer clinical trial, you have access to the newest and most advanced treatments, before they are widely available.
- In a clinical trial, you are cared for by leading physicians in the field of cancer research.
- Before a new treatment is tested in a clinical trial, it undergoes extensive laboratory testing, often for many years. Only the most promising new treatments make it to clinical trials.
- Cancer patients decide to participate in clinical trials for many reasons, usually because they hope for a cure, a longer lifespan, an improved quality of life or to benefit other cancer patients in the future.
- By California law, cancer clinical trials are nearly always covered by insurance.
- Cancer clinical trials are governed by protocols, or plans, that spell out exactly what will happen and why. Protocols are carefully reviewed to make sure they safeguard patients and have scientific merit. Before a patient consents to participate in a clinical trial, he or she receives extensive information about the potential risks and benefits of the trial.
- If it becomes clear during a clinical trial that one treatment is better than another, the trial is stopped so that all patients receive the treatment. The patients in the trial are the first to benefit.
- Placebos are almost never used in cancer clinical trials. No patient goes without treatment, where a treatment is available.
- In a clinical trial, you receive close monitoring of your health care and any side effects.
- You may leave a clinical trial at any time, and choose instead to talk with your physician about other treatment options.
Thinking about taking part in a clinical trial? Here are some quick steps to help you understand the process and what a clinical trial involves:
- Find out what the eligibility criteria are for the study.
- Talk it over with your doctor.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor and the clinical trial research team.
For more information, read the National Cancer Institute’s “Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies” brochure (PDF).