Questions to Ask about Clinical Trials
1. Are cancer clinical trials for people who have no other
- Trials are often another option that offers a treatment
plan that may better address the patient's needs and
continue their quality of life.
2. Am I eligible for a clinical trial?
- Every clinical trial has a protocol that describes what
will be done in the trial, how the trial will be conducted,
and why each part of the trial is necessary. Each study
includes guidelines for who can and cannot participate.
These guidelines are called “eligibility criteria”.
- Eligibility criteria may include age, sex, medical
history, and current health status. Your doctor will make
sure you are eligible for the study before you begin.
3. Will I receive inferior treatment?
- Clinical trials often are an option for a
different and possibly better or more effective treatment.
4. Am I a human guinea pig?
- Institutional Review Boards (IRB) comprised of local
physicians, nurses, ethics and legal experts, and community
leaders must approve all clinical trials and the informed
consent documents before the trials are approved for people
to participate in. These boards have the responsibility to
assure that there are no unreasonable risks, compared to the
benefits to the human subject. Most clinical trials testing
new drug treatments have already been tested in labs in
animals and humans.
5. Do trials always include a placebo or "sugar" pill?
- No. Placebos are used only when there is no
standard-care treatment already available. Placebos are
rarely used in cancer clinical trials. They are never used
in the place of the standard-care treatment already given.
Any clinical trial that involves a test group that will
receive no treatment must inform participants in advance
that the trial has a placebo arm.
6. Can I leave a clinical trial?
- Yes, you may leave at any time. Talk to your physician
to learn how to do this safely.