Clinical trials are research studies that involve patients. Through clinical trials, providers try to find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with cancer. These advances are possible with the invaluable information gathered during a clinical trial.
What are clinical trials?
A clinical trial is a research study that helps scientists and doctors discover better ways to treat cancer. In a clinical trial, people try new treatments focusing on a certain tumor type. Researchers learn how well the experimental treatment works. For some patients, access to new cancer-fighting drugs and therapies offer hope when standard treatments have not worked. With clinical trials, patients receive:
- Extra support and attention as they undergo new treatments
- The chance to be helped by a brand-new treatment that otherwise is not offered
- The opportunity to help doctors and scientists fighting cancer to learn more about the disease and how best to treat it.
Risks of clinical trials for patients
If you are thinking about joining a clinical trial, talk to your doctor first. Get as much information as you can about the clinical research and clinical trials. Because the treatment is new, researchers may not know fully the safety and effectiveness of a new drug, device or medical therapy. Experimental treatments may not work as well as standard treatments you would have had if you were not in the clinical trials. People also may have side effects. In many instances, the side effects are no greater in a clinical trial than they are in receiving standard therapy.