Are there any benefits to taking part in a clinical trial?
- If you are participating in a clinical research trial, you will never receive less than the current standard treatment, but you might receive a new medication that is otherwise not available to the general public.
- Sometimes, new medications are found to be more effective than the current standard. They are also provided at no cost to the patient.
- The information from the clinical research trial can often help other cancer patients in the future. Most of what we know today about the treatment of cancer was learned through clinical research trials.
- Participation in a clinical research trial does not put patients at financial risk. By law, health insurers are obligated to pay for the standard of care portion of patients on a research trial. The research portion is covered by the study sponsor, so that there is no additional cost to patients who choose to participate in clinical research trials.
Are there any drawbacks to taking part in a clinical trial?
- If you are in a clinical research trial, there is no guarantee that the study drug will be effective in treating your disease. Patients receiving any treatment may experience side effects, but sometimes the additional side effects from new treatments can be serious.
- Most treatment studies use a process called randomization, where patients are assigned to a particular treatment at random. Neither they nor their doctor will get to choose which treatment they will receive.
- Some treatment studies involve what is called a blinded placebo. In these studies neither you or your treatment team will not know if you are receiving the new treatment or not.
- Occasionally, patients may be asked to fill out additional paperwork, or come in for an additional office visit as part of the clinical research trial.
Will my information be kept confidential?
Your personal and medical information will be kept confidential. Your healthcare team will have your information, and members of the research team may also look at your medical record. Any data sent to the study sponsor will not contain any of your identifying information.
How can I find a clinical trial that’s right for me?
If you want to discuss clinical research trials, ask your doctor for a referral to New England Cancer Specialists. You can see a list of current trials at New England Cancer Specialists here. For a complete list of all available trials nationwide, visit ClinicalTrials.gov, a website maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services.