A clinical research trial is an experiment where human patients are used as experimental subjects for the testing and evaluation of new drugs or other treatments. These studies are used as a last method for doctor’s to prove effectiveness of a particular treatment method and to track the results and side-effects of the medication or procedures involved. While cancer patients are not the only patients who can participate in clinical trials, there are a vast number of specifically cancer related studies today.
Many people are afraid to participate in clinical trials, however it is important to remember that many of today’s most effective cancer treatments and medications would not be available for widespread use had it not been for the patients who participated in former studies of this type.
Unfortunately, not all trials are a glowing success. Researchers will sometimes learn the drawbacks and side-effects of treatment only after many patients have participated in long-term studies. The primary purpose, is to answer one question. “Does this treatment option work?”
It is important to note also, that before a drug is approved by the FDA for testing on humans it must have passed regulatory tests through use of testing on animals. Although animals and humans are different, doctors will have a fairly good idea of what the risks and benefits of a medication are prior to administering it to a human patient.
Just think, when you agree to participate in a clinical trial as a cancer patient, you are gaining exposure to potentially successful treatment options that other patients cannot get access to. You might find that your treatment does not last as long as it would have, had you considered traditional treatment recommendations. There is of course, a financial bonus for participants in most studies. This can range from free testing and medication to an actual cash allotment at the conclusion of the study.
Before you agree to participate in any research study, it is imperative that you speak with your medical professional in order to make them aware of what you are considering, and to weigh the risks/benefits properly through their expertise and experience. The decision to participate lies solely with the patient.