Doctors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance are constantly working to develop new and improved treatments for cancer because not all patients are cured with standard therapy. And some standard treatments may have several or uncomfortable side effects.
Every advance in cancer treatment has come from a clinical trial. Many of our patients come to SCCA to gain access to leading-edge treatments, including those available in clinical trials. Talk to your doctor to find out if a clinical trial might be appropriate for you.
Participating in clinical trials means having the first chance to benefit from treatments that have shown promise in earlier research. Patients in these trials also make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease. Although clinical trials may pose some risk, researchers take careful steps to protect people who take part.
Clinical trials come in four phases. In Phase I trials, researchers try to determine safe dose levels. In Phase II trials, which involve a larger group of patients, researchers hope to build on what they learned in the first phase by trying to establish whether cancers will respond to the safe dose levels and to determine what side effects will occur. In Phase III trials, researchers compare the experimental treatment with the standard treatment or a placebo to prove whether the new treatment is truly effective. In Phase IV trials, researchers monitor the effects of long-term usage.
For more information about clinical studies, see the Patient Guide to Clinical Trials which includes Myths vs Facts.