Clinical Trials in Cartoons

Great ideas can lead to great advances.
So how many pills do YOU take?


To some, the future of cancer treatment drugs is largely a matter of drugs costing more and more. Poor Mr. Poore seems perplexed, at the least.

The whole idea of the placebo is for you to believe it will help you.  Ed is absolutely convinced. Would you like to try his "smoothie?"

 Abner couldn't believe what he was hearing...or was he dreaming? Should he join a clinical trial? What should he expect?

Although no clinical trial is totally 'free' for the patient, it is highly unlikely that any patients would have to pay as much as Miss Patience. Probably. Ask questions and be a little patient.

Can there be such a thing as Too Much Information (TMI)? Maybe. 

Cancer and clinical trials are serious business.  Every once in a while, however, we all need to take a break from the serious stuff and smile or chuckle.  We hope Larry's cartoon's will bring you a smile.

Sometimes the simple explanations are the best. Cancer sucks. Clinical Trials might help. Nothing or nobody lasts forever. Surviving as long as possible is usually a good thing.

Sometimes a  Clinical Trial or new Miracle Drug may sound too good to be true. Do your homework before you kiss too many frogs (you'll have to decide how many is too many).

Clinical Trials can help you live longer. That's great...but maybe there's a downside for some.

Deciding to participate in a clinical trial--or not--can be a difficult decision. If you have had to make that decision, what questions went through your head? How did you decide? Are you pleased with your decision? 

Heddy, like many others who have cancer, has heard a lot of misinformation--and made up some of her own. But Dirk isn't fooled! 
It may seem that in health care you often get what you pay for. Hopefully you won't need a wheelbarrow full of money--but it couldn't hurt.

Ed liked the attention he got in Clinical Trials but wasn't willing to bother with all the rules and regulations. For some reason, none of the trials he participated in seemed to do him much good. Pity.

Hormone therapy can result in many different side effects. Almost all men will experience some sort of new and exciting effect. Most men, however, will not experience the rare side effects that poor Lucifer did.

This would never happen, of course. But for those of us waiting for clinical trials that might help us, it's not unusual to be a bit suspicious of the process. And I'm a little worried about my cat Fuzzy, too.

Chemotherapy treats, helps, and saves a lot of people. There are often major side effects. Nobody I know wants to be on chemo, but it's there for those who need it. Maybe Elmo has the right idea...maybe not.

Taking any new drug is a bit of an adventure. Side effects aren't the same from one person to the next. If I can convince my wife that extreme fatigue is one of the side effects of my latest treatment, she does more and I can take it easy. So far, so good.

Not all clinical trials are successful, not all participants are willing to try experimental treatments,  and Dr. Lind was hundreds of (nautical) miles out to sea. May he, too, sampled the rum. I personally prefer red wine. Who's to say it won't work?

Kids with cancer participate in clinical trials in large numbers. Their survival and cure rate is high. Most adults avoid clinical trials. Their survival rate is not as high. Are we missing something here?

It's human nature to want to benefit from cancer research. We all want to get better or be cured. It's also human nature (for adults, anyway) to not want to be involved in the process of testing new drugs. Alex and Alice reflect a pretty common attitude. Too bad...

Arbie trusts his doctor and medical team but had all sorts of doubts about clinical trials--much of it due to misinformation. There is a lot of incorrect information out there. Ask questions and don't "just say no" until you have all the information.

Not all new programs work, but the Prostate Cancer Dream Team has great potential (not to be confused with the Dreaming Team shown below).

Our Book Signing at Powell's went well and was fun. Here's proof that we were there...

We hope you can come to our book signing at Powell's. 

Numbers and statistics may not always mean what you think or hope they do. Ask questions and do your homework. Maybe you'll be lucky like Herman and benefit even if you don't know what the numbers mean!

Everyone with cancer wants a cure but the vast majority of adults with cancer, for a variety of reasons, choose not to participate in clinical trials. Maybe you can help pass the word that it might be worth checking out the possibilities.

The 'blinding' and 'double blinding' process in clinical trials can be frustrating--but ultimately it speeds up the process of testing new drugs. Really. And it doesn't actually happen as shown here--most of the time.

Waiting for new medications to be approved by the FDA can be a very different experience for you than it is for the FDA or drug company. Even though the average approval time is 'relatively' short it can seem like forever if 'you're the one' waiting for it.

Whichever clinical trial phase (I, II, or III) you volunteer for, it can take time--sometimes a long time--before the trial actually starts. Being patient is a virtue. Let's hope you don't have to wait as long as poor Abe.

Becoming involved in a clinical trial is probably more complicated than our friend Seymour seems to think. But maybe he's on the right track...let people know you're available.

Nobody knows what the next exciting discovery will be in the fight to cure cancer. Maybe it will be something simple and inexpensive like Dr. Schweitzer has discovered here...maybe not.

Statistics don't mean much unless they relate directly to you. Maybe Bill's 27% improvement is just a placebo effect (statistically that's possible). 

Everybody worries about side effects--most are not serious, some are annoying, and a very few can be life threatening. Most people do not have side effects as serious as Mr. Smith below. 

Clinical Trials have been around a long time--in one form or another. We don't know for sure if our Cave Dweller ancestors practiced experimental medicine but it could've happened!

Choosing to participate (or not participate) in a clinical trial can create anxiety and doubts. And you're going to hear horror stories (usually not true) about side effects and studies gone wrong. But if you do your homework and ask enough questions you can be confident about your final decision--more so than poor Fred, anyway.

Vaccines are being developed for many types of cancer. The testing process is often long and when the vaccine is approved by the the FDA it can be very expensive, but if it works...

And don't forget the paperwork! Whatever trial you enter will require you to fill out forms and provide other paperwork, Not as much as this poor lady is facing, however. Get help from your doctor and trial team when you need it.
Having to pay for treatment related to a clinical trial can be a nightmare. But if you get approval from your Health Insurance Company before the trial starts there won't be any surprises and you won't end up like poor Bertha...

If Immunotherapy is actually perfected and works for everybody with cancer (we can always hope) there still might be some problems for clinics and hospitals...

Picking your own medication and cancer clinical trial sounds empowering. Sometimes the simplest choices may be the best.

"Gene Sequencing" or "Jean Sequencing" it may all sound the same to you. Just in case you're wondering, this cartoon was inspired by Tom...

Placebos have been used successfully (or not, depending on which studies you read) for a long, long time. More and more evidence supports the value of placebos. What do you think?

As you probably know, just about all cancer medications have side effects. As far as we know, the one shown in the cartoon below is extremely rare.

Canine Cancer Clinical Trials may benefit all of us in the future. And it appears to be helping the dogs, too. Don't you love it when a plan comes together? 

In virtually all cases, the experimental drugs being tested in clinical trials are provided free to trial volunteers. And just as often the containers are also provided free. When you are in doubt about any costs, ask your trial supervisors and health insurance provider.

Every experimental medicine must be successfully tested on TWO different animal species before it can be used in human trials. That's good news for you and me - maybe not so good for the rats.

Blogs, twitter, i Phones, apps, smart phones, text, RSS, URL...the world is getting more technical all the time and it can be hard to keep up, especially if you are also coping with medical problems. But, like us, you can always ask your kids or grandkids for help.

Doctors and Researchers often use technical language to discuss and describe what they do and how it will affect you. You may be confused and frustrated. But if you ask your doctor or trial supervisor what all the big words mean, they will be more than happy to explain them to you in words normal people can understand. They're not really trying to confuse you, as the cartoon might suggest...

Anyone would want a clinical trial that was guaranteed to be successful. Unfortunately that isn't possible in a trial. It's not even possible with standard therapy.  Cancer treatments work better for some than for others.  But you can always hope for a good outcome for you...

If you are searching for a clinical trial, you may be feeling like this:

Each week, we will provide you a new cartoon insight from Larry.  See you next week.


  1. It made me, a veteran of almost 18 years of uncured prostate cancer, laugh. Maybe we should have a clinical trial for cartoon effects.
    Gláucio Soares

  2. Laughter might help and it certainly couldn't hurt! I'll volunteer for the first 'cartoon effects' clinical trial.