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Chemotherapy (cont.)

Chemotherapy Clinical Trials

Cancer clinical trials (also called cancer treatment studies or research studies) test new treatments for people with cancer. These can be studies of new types of chemotherapy, other types of treatment, or new ways to combine established treatments. The goal of all these clinical trials is to find better ways to help people with cancer.

Your doctor or nurse may suggest you take part in a clinical trial. You can also suggest the idea. Before you agree to be in a clinical trial, learn about:

  • Benefits. All clinical trials offer quality cancer care. Ask how this clinical trial could help you or others. For instance, you may be one of the first people to get a new treatment or drug. You may be receiving a treatment on a study which has been underway for sometime and which is already being given to many others with your condition.
  • Risks. New treatments are not always better or even as good as standard treatments. And even if this new treatment is good, it may not work well for you. There is a guarantee under the principle of Equipoise that you will not be given a treatment expected to be worse than the standard chemotherapy, if there is one, for your condition.
  • Payment. Your insurance company may or may not pay for treatment that is part of a clinical trial. Before you agree to be in a trial, you or your doctor's office should check with your insurance company to make sure it will pay for this treatment. This is called pre-approval or pre-authorization. It is best obtained in writing prior to beginning treatment if possible.

Contact the NCI's Cancer Information Service if you are interested in learning more about clinical trials.

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