Participate in a Study

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Making the Decision

Should You Participate in a Clinical Study?

The decision to take part in cancer research belongs to you, the cancer patient. The decision you make will probably result from a combination of diverse reasons--some large, some small, some based on scientific evidence, some based on personal attitudes and feelings about health and disease.

Start by doing some research on clinical trials, and discuss the issue with your family and your doctor. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • You will receive care from doctors who are leading cancer specialists.

  • You may gain access to new drugs that are not otherwise available.

  • You may get closer monitoring.

  • You want to help others.

  • You want to help advance scientific knowledge of cancer.

Clinical trials are not for everybody. Here are some reasons you might decide not to participate:


  • Fear of the unknown. In a Phase III clinical trial, you probably will not know which drug or treatment you are receiving.

  • The risk of side effects.

  • Loss of choice, if you are assigned randomly to receive one treatment or the other.

  • You don't have the time. Clinical trials may require more time than standard treatment.

  • Your health insurance plan does not cover clinical trials.

Be sure to read "Clinical Studies: Myths vs. Facts."

Clinical Study Checklist

Use this checklist when searching for a clinical trial.

Making the Decision Checklist

Use this checklist when trying to decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for you.