NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017
Overview of cancer treatments
Phase III trials
compare a new drug to a
standard treatment head-to-head. These trials
often involve hundreds or thousands of people.
Phase IV trials
test drugs approved by the U.S.
ood and Drug
dministration) to learn
more about side effects with long-term use.
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. However,
please note that it is unknown how well new
treatments will work if at all. 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 people who will
have cancer in the future.
Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any test or
treatment, there may be side effects. Also, new
tests or treatments may or may not improve your
health. In fact, your health may worsen during a trial.
Other downsides may include more hospital trips,
paperwork, and extra costs for 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 cancer and general health. Thus, if
patients improve, it’s because of the treatment and
not because of differences between them.
Complementary and alternative medicine
edicine) is a group of treatments that aren’t
often given by doctors. There is much interest
today in CAM for cancer. Many CAMs are
being studied to see if they are truly helpful.
Complementary medicines are treatments
given along with usual medical treatments.
While CAMs aren’t known to kill cancer cells,
they may improve your comfort and well-
being. Two examples are acupuncture for pain
management and yoga for relaxation.
Alternative medicine is used in place of usual
medicine. Some alternative medicines are
sold as cures even though they haven’t been
proven to work in clinical trials. If there was
good proof that CAMs or other treatments
cured cancer, they would be included in this
It is important to tell your treatment team if you
are using any CAMs. They can tell you which
CAMs may be helpful and which CAMs may
limit how well medical treatments work.