Taking Part in Cancer Research

Apr 01

Women with cancer may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are treatment options that also provide gateways to studying cancer and treatments. Many of today’s standard treatments are the result of past clinical trials. It is important to keep in mind that clinical trials undergo lengthy and intensive lab testing before they are ever even recommended for human use. They are geared to answer questions about cancer in new ways, like:

  • How to treat cancer

  • How to diagnose cancer

  • How to prevent cancer

  • How to manage the symptoms of cancer and the side effects its treatments

But today Breast Specialty of Baton Rouge is going to focus on the clinical trials for cancer treatments. These trials test new drugs or vaccines, methods of surgery or radiation therapy, or combinations of treatments.

When deciding whether to take part in a clinical trial, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. We have listed a few of the most common and important pros and cons for you to consider.

Possible Benefits

  • Clinical trials offer high-quality cancer care. Even if you are in a randomized study and don’t receive the new treatment, you will receive the best, known standard treatment.

  • You may be among the first to benefit from a newly proven effective treatment, if you are receiving the new treatment.

  • You have the chance to help others and improve cancer treatment.

Possible Drawbacks

  • New treatments under study are not always better than, or as good as, standard care.

  • In a randomized test, you may be selected for standard treatment, which may not be better than, or as good as, the new treatment.

  • New treatments may have side effects that doctors cannot anticipate, or that are worse than standard treatment side effects.

  • New treatment may not work for you, even if it is beneficial for others. But even standard treatments, proven effective for many people, don’t work for everyone.

  • Health insurance and care providers cover patient costs vary by plan and by study. All of your patient costs may not be covered. Check with your managed care provider and insurance company.

Doctors and study specialists can answer your questions about all available treatment options (standard and clinical trials) purpose, procedures, risks and benefits, as well as your right to end participation at any time.


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