Clinical trials are important for cancer research and important for individual cancer patients. There are different Phases of clinical trials. The most common is Phase 3 when a new agent is added to the gold standard therapy. Patients are rarely disadvantaged by participating in a Phase 3 clinical trial because they receive the gold standard therapy plus the new added agent. For some patients earlier clinical trials maybe more appropriate, but because Phase 1 trials do not include standard therapy it is important for patients to have detailed discussions with their consultant before deciding to participate in early clinical trials. Here are 10 questions you might consider asking your consultant:
- What phase is the trial in?
- Will I be able to continue any other treatment?
- What have been the results of the earlier phases of the trial?
- Have there been any fatalities?
- Who is sponsoring this trial?
- Will I know what I'm getting?
- If my cancer progresses, will I have the option of getting the other treatment?
- How do you evaluate whether the trial is working or not?
- How many participants do you need before you move on to the next phase?
- How long will you follow the participants?