What Are Clinical Trials?
Cancer specialists regularly conduct studies to test new treatments. These studies are called clinical trials. Most standard cancer treatments are based on the results of previous clinical trials. Clinical trials are available through cancer doctors everywhere — not just in major cities, university centers or in large hospitals.
Some clinical trials try to determine if a therapeutic approach is safe and potentially effective. Many large clinical trials compare the more commonly used standard treatment with a treatment that cancer experts think might be better. Patients who participate in clinical trials help doctors and future cancer patients find out whether a promising treatment is safe and effective. Clinical trials should be reviewed by an independent ethics committee that approves and monitors the research study such as an institutional review board (IRB). All patients who participate in clinical trials are carefully monitored to make sure they are getting quality care. Enrolling in clinical trials is completely voluntary. You can leave a trial at any time. Clinical trials testing new treatments are carried out in phases.