8 Cancer Clinical Trial Facts Every Patient Should Know

In the past few decades, outstanding scientific advances have been made. These breakthroughs can prove useful while treating cancer patients. But this is possible only when these new techniques are experimented in a clinical trial to find out its usefulness and accuracy. However, this is only possible when patients and physicians willingly partake in these clinical trials. Most of them lack awareness or give less importance to these clinical trials which result in low enrollment rates. Most of these patients and physicians are unaware of the fact that clinical trials will help to find new and advanced treatment options, which will not only benefit them but also others.

Here are 8 important facts about clinical trials of which you may not be aware:

1. Participating in a clinical trial may benefit you and others:

Clinical trials may serve great benefits for a cancer patient, especially those with pancreatic cancer. There are very few and effective treatment options for pancreatic cancer. So, if a patient with pancreatic cancer participates in clinical trials, they will benefit with advance and better treatment options. Moreover, this will help the researchers develop new treatments for future patients.

2. Placebos are never used in place of active cancer treatments:

In a clinical trial, patients will either be given standard treatment or new treatments. Sometimes participants are given placebos with standard treatment, which is as same as taking standard treatments alone.

3. Each participant has to meet specific requirements to participate in a clinical trial:

You have to meet certain requirements to participate in a clinical trial, which may differ from one study to other studies. These requirements may include age, health, type and stage of cancer, gender, and treatment history. Researchers identify a group of participants who have common factors, which helps to determine whether a particular treatment is useful or not. Many clinical trials include participants who have never been treated for a particular type of cancer.

4. Clinical trial participants have rights and protection:

Each clinical trial establishes a protocol which is a study plan that includes detailed information about the trials. The first part of the protocol is informed consent. This procedure ensures that all the patients are given all the information related to trials before they agree to participate. In order to join these clinical trials, participants should carefully read the procedure and sign the informed consent form before any treatment-related clinical trial has started. This process ensures the researchers that their participants have a proper knowledge of their roles and rights in the trial.

Committees called Institutional Review Boards attend hospitals or research centers where the clinical trials are taking place. They review and monitor these trials. Moreover, they ensure the participants that any kind of side-effect is rational in relation to future benefits.

5. You can choose to leave a clinical trial at any time:

Participants have the right to leave a clinical trial at any time, even after signing an informed consent or even after the treatment has started. In such a case, your doctor will switch you to standard treatment depending upon the type and stage of cancer.

6. You can search for a clinical trial near you:

Here are a few resources that can help you to find a right cancer clinical trial:

  • The National Cancer Institute: Here most of the cancer trials are funded by the government. It has a list of active studies that are currently enrolling patients and list of various privately funded studies.
  • The American Cancer Society: It provides websites and information that will help you to find a clinical trial that is near to your house and right for you.
  • The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: This is the nation’s most renowned and up-to-date pancreatic cancer clinical trial database. It provides highly-competent associates and experts who will guide you throughout the process.

7. There are two types of costs in trials:

Before getting enrolled in clinical trials, you should discuss the cost of clinical trials with the clinical trial coordinator and your insurance company. The cost in trials will be of two types:

  • Research cost: This includes the cost of the treatment and the procedure which is conducted for research and study. In most cases, the cost is funded by the government or by the clinical trial sponsors.
  • Routine medical care test: This includes the cost of the treatment and procedure which the participant will receive irrespective of whether they participate in clinical trials or not. The bill either will be taken care by your insurance company or has to be paid by the patient.

8. Patients in a trial may get more attentive medical care:

During a clinical trial, a patient may get an entire medical staff to monitor their daily health. This medical staff may include principal investigators, doctors, research nurses, and others. They may inform you about the side-effects that may occur due to the experimental treatment and help you to deal with it. They may also keep a close eye on the effectiveness and safety of the treatment.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is not only stressful to the patient, but also to their family members. In addition to this stress, making a decision to participate in clinical trials or not becomes difficult. However, these clinical trials will soon make you realize that you are not alone as they provide a lot of support and inspiration. Above all, remember that these clinical trials will help researchers to bring extraordinary advances, which may do a wondrous job for you and future cancer patients.



  1. NCCN guidelines for cancer patient

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