Cancer Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that help doctors discover how well a new treatment or device works.
Like all treatment options, clinical trials have possible benefits and risks. For example, by participating in a clinical trial you will have access to cancer treatment that is not available outside of the study. If the treatment is effective, you will be among the first to receive it. On the other hand, it is possible that the new treatment you receive in a clinical trial may not work as well as the standard treatment or be effective for your particular cancer.
By looking closely at all treatment options, including clinical trials, you can make the best treatment decision for you and your needs.
Who can participate in cancer clinical trials?
Participation in a clinical trial can benefit many cancer patients. People of all ages, including children, can take part in clinical trials, though the criteria participants must meet vary between studies. If you find a clinical trial that interests you or your doctor recommends one, there are formal steps that must be taken to join.
How can I find a cancer clinical trial?
Gundersen offers more than 100 clinical trials at any given time, thanks, in large part, to the research sponsored by the Gundersen Medical Foundation. There also are many studies available outside of Gundersen. We encourage you to look at opportunities offered both at Gundersen and through other healthcare organizations.
To find a trial that may be right for you:
There also are several matching services, like this one through the American Cancer Society, that can help you find a study that may benefit you.
I found a clinical trial that may be right for me. Now what?
If you meet the criteria for a clinical trial, deciding whether to participate can be a difficult choice. Considering your treatment goals, potential risks versus benefits and conversations about the study with your cancer care team can help you choose what is best for you.
Before making your decision, you may want to ask your doctor some or all of the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the trial?
- Why do the researchers believe that the treatment being studied may be better than the one being used now? Why may it not be better?
- How long will I be in the trial?
- What kinds of tests and treatments are involved?
- How will the doctor know if the treatment is working?
- How will I be told about the trial's results?
- How long do I have to make up my mind about joining this trial?
- Who can I speak with about questions I have during and after the trial?
- Who will be in charge of my care?
- Is there someone I can talk to who has been in the trial?
- What are the possible side effects or risks of the new treatment?
- What are the possible benefits?
- How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare to those of the standard treatment?
- What happens if I decide to leave the trial?
- Will I have to pay for any of the treatments or tests?
- What costs will my health insurance cover?
- Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company?
- Will I have to stay in the hospital during the clinical trial? If so, how often and for how long?
- What are my other treatment choices, including standard treatments?
- How does the treatment I would receive in this trial compare with the other treatment choices?
- What will happen to my cancer without treatment?