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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Stomach Cancer, Version 1.2016


Overview of cancer treatments Clinical trials

Clinical trials

New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the public

as soon as they’re made. They need to be studied.

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. When found to be safe and helpful,

they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.

Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in

this book are now widely used to help people with

stomach cancer.

New 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 U.S. FDA (


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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 help. Another downside may

be that paperwork or more trips to the hospital are


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 6.