Understand clinical trials better.
Find clinical trials that may be a good option for you.
Step 1: Understand Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a long process that begins with laboratory research and testing in animals. Many treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials, or review your understanding of them before going further, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies can help you understand what cancer clinical trials are, why they are important, and how they work.
Step 2: Talk With Your Doctor
When thinking about clinical trials, your best starting point is your doctor or another member of your health care team.
Usually, it is a doctor who may know about a clinical trial, or search for one, that could be a good option for you and your type of cancer. He or she can provide information and answer questions while you think about joining a clinical trial.
In some cases, your doctor may not be taking part in clinical trials or may not be very familiar with them. If your doctor doesnâ€™t have information to give you about clinical trials, you may want to get a second opinion about your treatment options and about participating in a clinical trial.
Step 3: Complete the Cancer Details Checklist
If you decide to look for a clinical trial, you must know certain details about your cancer diagnosis. You will need to compare these details with the eligibility criteria of any trial that interests you. Eligibility criteria are the guidelines for who can and cannot take part in a certain clinical trial. They are also called entry criteria or enrollment criteria.
To help you know which trials you may be eligible to join, complete the Cancer Details Checklist as much as possible. This form asks questions about your cancer and provides space to write down your answers. Keep the form with you during your search for a clinical trial.
To get the information you need for the form, ask your doctor, a nurse, or social worker at your doctor's office for help. Explain to them that you are interested in looking for a clinical trial and that you need these details before starting to look. They may be able to review your medical records and help you fill out the form. The more information you can find to complete the form, the easier it will be to find a clinical trial that might fit your situation.
This guide will help you look for a cancer treatment clinical trial. It does not provide medical advice and should not be used in place of advice from your doctor or other members of your health care team. Your health care team and your loved ones, if you wish, can assist you in deciding whether or not a clinical trial is right for you. The decision to take part in a clinical trial is yours alone to make.
This guide will help you to:
Gather the information you need to begin your search for a clinical trial.
Identify Web sites that have lists of open clinical trials. Open trials are those that are accepting eligible people who wish to participate.
Learn about clinical trials for your type and stage of cancer.
Ask questions that will help you decide whether or not to take part in a trial.
A Word About Timing:
Some treatment trials will not accept people who have already been treated for their cancer. The researchers conducting these trials are hoping to find improved cancer treatments for people with newly diagnosed disease.
If you have just found out that you have cancer, the time to think about joining a trial is before you have any treatment. Talk with your doctor about how quickly you need to make a treatment decision.
Other treatment trials are looking for people who have already been treated for their cancer.
If you have already had one or more forms of cancer treatment and are looking for a new treatment option, there are still clinical trials for you to think about.