NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Part 5: Understanding your treatment options
Joining a clinical trial
When deciding on your treatment plan, it is always a good
idea to ask your team whether clinical trials are available for
the treatment of the particular cancer you have, and to do
some digging around yourself. Because clinical trials are not
available at all treatment centers, you may want to consider
traveling if a promising trial is available at a center other than
the one closest to you.
To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions of the
study. Patients in a clinical trial are often alike in terms of
their tumor type and general health. This helps researchers
ensure that any changes in the cancer are because of the
treatment and not because of differences between patients.
If you meet the conditions of the study, you will be asked to
review a paper called an informed consent form. This form
describes the study in detail, including the risks and benefits.
Also, your doctor will explain why the clinical trial may be
right for you. You will be able to fully read the form and have
all your questions answered. Afterward, you may decide
to sign the form and start in the study. If you are younger
than age 18, your parents will need to review the form and
provide consent for you to participate in the trial.
The clinical trial process is designed to make sure
that every patient involved in the trial understands
what’s going to happen and the possible risks
and benefits. The questions below can serve as a
guideline for talking with your doctor about joining
Are there clinical trials available for the type
of cancer I have?
Is this center involved in any of these trials?
If not, where is the nearest center that offers
enrollment in a trial?
Questions to ask your doctor about: