Have you participated in any clinical trials to find treatment for your cancer? Please describe your experience.
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What are clinical trials?
When laboratory research shows that a new treatment method has promise, cancer patients can receive the treatment in carefully controlled trials. These trials are designed to find out whether the new approach is both safe and effective and to answer scientific questions. Often, clinical trials compare a new treatment with a standard approach so that doctors can learn which is more effective.
Researchers also look for ways to reduce the side effects of treatment and improve the quality of patients' lives. Patients who take part in clinical trials make an important contribution to medical science. These patients take certain risks, but they also may have the first chance to benefit from improved treatment methods.
Clinical trials offer important options for many patients. Cancer patients who are interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. They may want to read What Are Clinical Trials All About?, a booklet
from the National Cancer Institute that explains treatment studies and outlines some of their possible benefits and risks.
One way to learn about clinical trials is through PDQ, a computerized resource developed by the National Cancer Institute. PDQ contains information about cancer treatment and about clinical trials in progress all over the country. The Cancer Information Service can provide PDQ information to doctors, patients, and the public.