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Clinical Trials

What is a clinical trial?

Medical research studies involving people are called clinical trials. Clinical trials in cancer test new treatments, ways to reduce side effects of treatment and to control symptoms. They may also investigate the causes of cancer and new ways of preventing, diagnosing or screening for cancer.

Trials are the only reliable way to find out if a new treatment:

  • Is safe
  • Has side effects
  • Works better than the current treatment
  • Helps you feel better

Your safety is very important. Your doctor and the research team will monitor your health closely throughout the trial.

What are the benefits?

  • You may have a new treatment that is only available in a clinical trial.
  • You may have more check-ups, tests and scans than usual, which you may find reassuring.
  • You will be helping to improve cancer treatments for future patients.
What are the drawbacks?
  • You may have to make more trips to hospital.
  • The extra tests and check-ups could increase your worry about cancer.
  • You may have to do some paperwork.
  • You may have unexpected side effects from the new treatment.

How do I know if a clinical trial is safe?

If you agree to join a trial, all the possible risks and benefits of taking part will be clearly explained to you. You can also withdraw from a trial at any point, and don’t have to give a reason. You will then have the standard treatment for your type and stage of cancer.

New treatments are carefully researched in a laboratory before they are tested with patients. But there is some risk with any new treatment, and no guarantee that it will be better than the standard treatment.

How do I join a clinical trial?

Speak to your cancer specialist if you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial. We will work with you to gather additional information and find out if there is a clinical trial that is right for you or your family member. For information about clinical trials at Huntsman Cancer Institute click here.