Apr 1, 2012

Practical Tips on Choosing a Clinical Trial

·       Before you search for a clinical trial that might be helpful in your situation, understand your cancer diagnosis and all of your options.
·       Talk to your oncologist about clinical trials.
·       Know that clinical trials may be an option at all stages of cancer and that different kinds of trials may be appropriate in various situations.
·       If a good standard treatment is available for your type of cancer, generally only consider clinical trials that include that standard treatment.
·       Clinical trials become a more important option when the treatments available to you are limited.
·       Phase I clinical trials that examine the newest drugs for the first time in a human being are generally appropriate to consider only when no good treatment options are available.
·       If you are considering a randomized trial, be sure you are comfortable with all of the treatment options.  You will not get to choose and neither will your doctor.
·       Make decisions about your care, including clinical trials, only after all your questions are answered and you are comfortable that you know all that you need to in order to make informed decisions.
·       Know both the potential risks and benefits of any trial you are considering.
·       Risks include missing out on another treatment, so be sure to understand all your options.
·       Know that in cancer care, we never know your outcome in advance, but in general we know less about what to expect from a clinical trial than from standard treatment.
·       If you need more information about clinical trials, consider searching for trials at cancer.gov or  visiting a research-oriented oncology center.
·       Seek the support of your family and friends as well as support groups as you steer your cancer plan.

To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon

(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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