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4 Things You May Not Know About Clinical Trials

Stephen Williamson, MD

October 07, 2019

Clinical trials are the basis for medical advancements. It takes time and patience to move through basic and translational research before a new treatment advances to testing in humans through a clinical trial. By the time the treatment reaches a patient, scientists have already spent years developing it. Nearly all of the tried-and-true cancer drugs available to you today exist because past patients participated in clinical trials.

Despite the advantages of joining in a clinical trial, historically, few cancer patients actually participate. With the Cancer Moonshot initiative and the increasing ability to target specific cancer cells, today is an optimal time to consider joining a clinical trial.

Below are 4 reasons you should consider participating in a clinical trial:

  1. You will gain access to innovative treatments before they become widely available. As a participant in a clinical trial, you may receive the latest leading-edge cancer treatment.

  2. You will receive frequent, attentive medical care. Some patients are nervous that once in a clinical trial, their standard of care will stop. Placebos are rarely used for active cancer treatment. The majority of studies compare the standard treatment with a new investigational drug or treatment.

    As a clinical trial participant, in addition to the care you would receive as part of your standard treatment, you will also have visits to the clinic with the trial team. Team members will closely monitor your side effects as well as the effectiveness of the new therapy. In essence, you are receiving “Standard of Care Plus.”

  3. You get to play an active role in important treatment decisions that can affect your care. If you qualify for a clinical trial, you are the advocate in your care and can choose to participate. Participating in a clinical trial may make you feel as if you have more control over your health, which can lead to a more positive outlook on life.

  4. You are contributing to improving the health of others. Clinical trials are the only way researchers can continue to develop new cancer treatments. By participating in a clinical trial, you are helping to advance cancer research and offer hope and opportunity for future patients.


If you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial, ask your doctor about your options.

Find a clinical trial.

Clinical trials give you an opportunity to try new therapies that might not otherwise be available. Search our clinical trials.

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