Ten things to know about
1. By participating in a cancer clinical trial, you have access to the newest and most advanced treatments, before they are widely available.
2. In a clinical trial, you are cared for by leading physicians in the field of cancer research.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. By California law, cancer clinical trials are nearly always covered by insurance.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Placebos are almost never used in cancer clinical trials. No patient goes without treatment, where a treatment is available.
9. You may leave a clinical trial at any time, and choose instead to talk with your physician about other treatment options.
10. In a clinical trial, you receive close monitoring of your health care and any side effects.