Breast Cancer: Choosing a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial

Quick GuideUnderstanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, and More

Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, and More

What Are the Advantages of Participating in a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial?

  • You may receive a new treatment before it is widely available to the public.
  • You can provide researchers with the information they need to continue developing new procedures and introducing new treatment methods.
  • Your treatment costs may be decreased, since many of the tests and physician visits that are directly related to the clinical trial are paid for by the company or agency sponsoring the study. Be sure to discuss your treatment costs with the physicians and nurses conducting the clinical trial.

What Are the Disadvantages of Participating in a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial?

  • All of the risks and side effects of the new treatment usually are not known at the beginning of the clinical trial. There may be unknown side effects, as well as hoped-for benefits. It's important to note that most treatments have potential side effects. Patients are informed of any known possible side effects before they join a clinical trial. They're also informed of any "new" side effects that become known while they are participating in the trial.
  • If you participate in a randomized clinical trial, you may not receive the new treatment being studied. Many breast cancer clinical trials compare a new treatment along with current therapy versus the current therapy alone. Participants are randomly assigned to one or the other group. This will be explained to you before you decide to take part.
  • As with other forms of therapy, the new treatment may not work for you, even if it helps others.
  • Insurers do not always cover all of the costs associated with taking part in a clinical trial. Be sure to talk to your insurance provider before you decide to participate.
  • There may be inconveniences, such as more frequent testing, more time at the doctor's office, and travel commitments.

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