Taking part in a clinical trial

Clinical trials are research studies to find better ways to treat cancer.

If your doctor suggests taking part in a clinical trial, make sure that you fully understand the reasons for the trial and what it means for you. Before deciding whether or not to join the trial, you may wish to ask your doctor:

  • What is the standard (best available) treatment for my cancer if I don't go in the trial?
  • Which treatments are being tested and why?
  • Which tests are involved?
  • What are the possible risks or side effects?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will I need to go into hospital for treatment?
  • What will I do if any problems occur while I am in the trial?
  • Will I need to come to hospital more often?

If you do join a clinical trial, you have the right to withdraw at any time. Doing so will not affect your treatment for cancer. It is always your decision to take part in a clinical trial. If you do not want to take part, your doctor will discuss the best current treatment choices with you.

The Cancer Society has a booklet titled Cancer Clinical Trials. To receive a copy, call the cancer information nurses on the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER (226 237), contact your local Cancer Society for a copy or view and download a copy from the Cancer Society's website.

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