Feb 6, 2013

How is being in a clinical trial different from getting regular treatment?

In many ways, being in a clinical trial is similar to receiving standard treatment.  There are regular visits, blood tests, scans, and a cancer drug – or several – are given on a set schedule.  Side effects are monitored and adjustments are made to minimize them.  There are some differences.  As much as cancer treatment programs tend to be fairly rigid and structured, clinical trials are even more so.  Everything that happens follows a precise recipe.  There may be additional tests or surveys to fill out that would not be a part of standard care.  Some of these may include much more extensive monitoring – for example serial blood draws to measure drug levels in detail during a 24 or 48 hour period.  It is also likely that less is known about the drug or drug regimen that is being tested than standard care.  Outcomes in cancer treatment are never certain, but participating in a clinical trial involves a greater degree of the unknown.  

For more questions and answers about clinical trials, visit the Talk about Health website.
To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.
To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.

(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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