Clinical Studies

What is a clinical study?

Clinical studies are investigational research in which people help doctors find ways to improve health and cancer care. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, or treat cancer.


Why are there clinical studies?

A clinical study is one of the final stages of a long and careful cancer research process. Studies are done with cancer patients to find out whether promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.

DO YOUR RESEARCH – Ask the questions.

Anyone considering a clinical study should feel free to ask any questions or bring up any issues concerning the study. The following suggestions may give you some ideas as you think about your own questions.

The Study

• What is the purpose of the study?
• Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
• Who will sponsor the study?
• Who has reviewed and approved the study?
• How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
• How long will the study last?
• What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Possible Risks and Benefits

• What are my possible short-term benefits?
• What are my possible long-term benefits?
• What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
• What are my possible long-term risks?
• What other options do people with my risk of cancer or type of cancer have?
• How do the possible risks and benefits compare with those options?

Participation and Care

• What kinds of therapies, procedures and tests will I have during the study?
• Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
• How do the tests in the study compare with those I’d have outside the study?
• Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical study?
• Where will I have my medical care?
• Who will be in charge of my care?

Personal Issues

• How could being in this study affect my daily life?
• Can I talk to other people in the study?

Cost Issues

• Will I have to pay for any part of the study such as tests or the study drug?
• If so, what will the charges likely be?
• What is my health insurance likely to cover?
• Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company?

Asking Your Doctor About Trials

When you talk with your doctor or members of the research team:
• Consider taking a family member or friend along for support and help.
• Plan ahead – but don’t hesitate to ask any new questions you think of.
• Write down your questions in advance.
• Write down the answers so that you can review them whenever you want.