Clinical Trials

Online Searches

Clinical trials may open the door for additional treatment options to consider. With thousands of them currently taking place around the United States, asking your doctor about participating is a great way to start. However, if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, you can be proactive and search for them yourself. Many online sites are available to help you locate a clinical trial. Let your doctor know if you find one you may qualify for so you can discuss if it could be a valuable addition to your treatment plan. Ultimately, it’s your decision.

Knowing where to start your online search or whom to talk to can seem overwhelming, and navigating those sites can be complicated. Below are screenshots from a mock clinical trial search site to guide your search and help you understand the medical terminology.

Before beginning your online search, have your exact diagnosis, pathology report and details of previous treatments handy to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria.

If you’re interested in a clinical trial that no longer accepts participants, your doctor may be able to appeal to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for expanded access, also known as “compassionate use.” If you don’t find a clinical trial that’s a good fit, know that new ones are continually added. You may choose to keep searching while moving ahead with your current treatment plan.

Keep in mind that by participating in a clinical trial, you will not jeopardize your care, and you may leave the trial at any time.


You Found a Clinical Trial. Now What?

Once you and your doctor find a trial for you, knowing what to expect can demystify the process and increase your comfort level with moving forward. Although every clinical trial is unique and each person’s experience may be different, your trial will likely include a few common components.

All clinical trials will have certain eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to join. These may include age, previous treatments, medical history, current health and specific stage or tumor type. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, keep searching or talk with your doctor, who may be familiar with other trials that you may qualify for.

Before entering a clinical trial, you will be given an Informed Consent form, which contains detailed information about the trial and what will be expected of you. Review the document carefully. Consider sharing it with loved ones and discuss anything you don’t understand with your doctor, especially any medical terms.

It is also a good idea to contact your insurance provider to find out the procedures that are covered and those you may be required to pay out of pocket. Although most clinical trials cover research-related costs, other expenses may be your responsibility. This information is best to know before the trial begins.

Your clinical trial medical research team will include doctors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals. You will have regular visits with this team, as well as visits with your regular doctor, to carefully monitor your progress.

In general, you can expect to have a variety of appointments for screenings and tests before and after the trial as well as during treatment. The number of visits and how often they’ll happen will be outlined in the Informed Consent form. Even after treatment ends, you will continue to be in close contact with the medical team managing your trial.

You are encouraged to ask questions about anything you don’t fully understand at any step in the process. And although you sign the Informed Consent form, you are not locked in. You may change your mind at any time during the trial and choose to receive standard of care.



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