Clinical Trials

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As you and your doctor discuss the potential treatment option of a clinical trial, keep in mind that so many trials take place at the same time that it is difficult for your doctor to know about all of them. It takes research, and that’s where you come in. While your health care team is exploring potential trials, you can, too. However, navigating some sites can be overwhelming. To help you get started, step through these instructions.

Before entering the trial, you will be given an Informed Consent form that provides detailed information about it. Review the document carefully. Consider sharing it with loved ones and discuss anything you don’t understand with your doctor, especially any medical terms. Before you sign the Informed Consent form, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance provider to find out which procedures, tests, follow-ups, etc., are covered and which you may be required to pay out of pocket.

  1. Before you begin, have your exact diagnosis, pathology report and details of previous cancer treatments on hand to help determine if you meet the basic eligibility criteria. Consider asking friends or family members to help search as well.
  2. Know where to look. Clinical trials search sites are hosted by the government, the National Cancer Institute, cancer advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies and industry trade organizations, academic medical centers and major hospitals. No single list contains every open clinical trial. New trials are continually being added, so check back often.
  3. Once you and your doctor find a clinical trial, it’s important to know what happens next. Although every trial is different, most follow a general process. Your eligibility will be assessed when you and/or your doctor first contact the clinical trial coordinator to learn more details. If you are a likely candidate, you’ll meet with the principal researchers to further determine your eligibility and answer your questions about the study. You may meet the clinical trial team, which may include doctors, nurses, specialists, your trial coordinator, social workers or other health care professionals.
  4. Continue to be your own advocate. After you begin a clinical trial, keep asking questions and alert your health care and trial teams about new symptoms and side effects. And remember, you may choose to leave the trial at any time, for any reason, and return to standard of care.


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