Clinical trials study new cancer drugs or drug combinations, new medical procedures, new surgical techniques or devices, new ways to use existing treatments, and even lifestyle or behavior changes. Clinical research trials provide access to potential treatments under investigation, giving options to people who need them.
Clinical trials are generally categorized by phase:
Early phase. Determines dosage, delivery and an early assessment of effects on cancer and the body
Examines new treatment's effects on specific types of cancer, typically involves 30-200 participants
Compares new treatment's effectiveness to established treatments, typically involves several hundred to several thousand participants
Determines long-term effectiveness, generally conducted after an intervention has received FDA approval
Participation differs between children and adults
High participation by children: Since the 1970s, children have participated in clinical trials at high rates, helping to advance cancer treatment for children
Low participation in adults: Adults participate in clinical trials at a lower rate than children, which plays a role in the slower progress of new cancer treatments for adults
A gap exists between interest and participation
70% Americans open to trials
5% Participation among cancer patients
Talk to your doctor
Physicians have access to available trials and can offer advice
This can include the type or stage of cancer, age, medical history and treatment history
It is important to look at the pros/cons of a clinical trial versus standard care
Clinical trial participants are required to follow certain steps and appointments during treatment
All medical research involves some level of risk to participants. Discuss both the risks and the benefits of participating in a clinical trial with your doctor.
Sources: MayoClinic.org; Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.gov
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