Questions to Ask When Deciding to Enter a Clinical Trial

The doctors and nurses who are running the study will explain the study to you in detail and will give you a form to read and sign indicating your desire to take part. This is known as “informed consent.” The decision to enter or withdraw from a trial is totally up to you. Even after signing the form and after the clinical trial begins, you are still free to leave the study at any time, for any reason. Taking part in a clinical trial does not prevent you from getting any other medical care you may need.

Here are some useful questions you may want to ask your cancer care team when deciding whether to enter a clinical trial:

  • Is there a trial that can help me and for which I will be eligible?
  • What is the purpose of the study? What phase of development is it?
  • What kinds of tests and treatments does the study involve?
  • What does the treatment do? Has it been used before?
  • Will I know which treatment I receive? What happens if I get the placebo or sugar pill?
  • What is likely to happen to me with or without getting this treatment?
  • What are my other choices and their advantages or disadvantages?
  • How could the study affect my daily life?
  • What side effects can I expect? Can the side effects be controlled?
  • Will I have to be hospitalized? If so, how often and for how long?
  • Will participating in the study cost me anything? Will any of the treatment be free?
  • If I am harmed as a result of the study, which treatment would I be entitled to?
  • What type of long-term follow-up care is part of the study?
  • Has this treatment been used to treat other types of cancers?

Please keep me informed.

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