Joining a clinical trial

Clinical trials are an important treatment option for many people with cancer. Your doctor may suggest joining a clinical trial. He or she can explain why a clinical trial may be right for you. You can also click on Find a clinical trial to look for a trial that you can join.

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. Even if you qualify for the study, it is still your choice to join.

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. You will be able to fully read the entire form and have all your questions answered. You can also discuss joining the study with family and friends. When all your questions are answered, you may decide to sign the form and start in the study. A list of questions to ask the research team or your doctor is given below.

The research team may learn of new benefits and risks during the study. They have to tell you this new information. You may have to sign a new consent form if you want to stay in the study. Staying in a study is your choice. You can leave a study at any time for any reason.

Questions to ask about clinical trials

Is there a clinical trial that I could take part in?

What is the purpose of the study?

What kinds of tests and treatments does the study involve?

What does the treatment do?

Has the treatment been used before? Has it been used for other types of cancers?

Will I know which treatment I receive?

What is likely to happen to me with, or without, this new treatment?

What are my other choices? What are their benefits and risks?

How might the study change my daily life?

What side effects can I expect from the study? Can the side effects be controlled?

Will I have to stay in the hospital? If so, how often and for how long?

Will the study cost me anything? Will any of the treatment be free?

If I'm harmed as a result of the research, what treatment might I get?

What type of long-term follow-up care is part of the study?