NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Colon Cancer - page 32

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Colon Cancer, Version 1.2014
Clinical trials
New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the public
as soon as they’re made. They need to be studied.
New uses of tests and treatments also need to be
A clinical trial is a type of research that studies a test
or treatment. Clinical trials study how safe and helpful
tests and treatments are. Many patients with cancer
are offered the option to join a clinical trial. Clinical
trials are a standard of care.
Through clinical trials, some tests and treatments
are found to be safe and helpful. These tests or
treatments may become tomorrow’s standard of care.
Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in
this book are now widely used to help patients.
Tests and treatments go through a series of clinical
trials to make sure they’re safe and work. Without
clinical trials, there is no way to know if a test or
treatment is safe or helpful. Clinical trials have four
phases. Examples of the four phases for treatment
Phase I
trials aim to find the best dose of a
new drug with the fewest side effects.
Phase II
trials assess if a drug works for a
specific type of cancer.
Phase III
trials compare a new drug to the
standard treatment.
Phase IV
trials test new drugs approved by
the FDA in many patients with different types
of cancer.
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. Second, you
will receive the best management of care. Third, the
results of your treatment—both good and bad—will be
carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other patients
with cancer.
Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any test or
treatment, there may be side effects. Also, new
tests or treatments may not work better than current
treatments. Another downside may be that paperwork
or more trips to the hospital may be needed.
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 cancer and general health. This is to
know that any progress is because of the treatment
and not because of differences between patients. To
join, you’ll need to review and sign a paper called an
informed consent form. This form describes the study
in detail, including the risks and benefits.
Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical
trial that you can join. There may be clinical trials
where you’re getting treatment or at other treatment
centers nearby. You can also find clinical trials
through the websites listed in Part 8.
Overview of cancer treatments Clinical trials
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