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July 28, 2021

5 Things You Should Know About Clinical Research Trials for Cancer Patients

5 Things You Should Know About Clinical Research Trials for Cancer Patients

If you’ve recently been referred to a clinical research trial for cancer treatment, you probably have many questions. While you should thoroughly discuss each clinical trial with your doctor or medical team, there are a few pieces of general information that help our patients understand the benefits of clinical research. We decided to discuss five of those right here!

1. Cancer Research Trials Are Not a "Last Resort"

Many patients believe that they can only get into a clinical research trial if every other possible treatment has failed. However, this is not the case. Clinical research is required for every type of treatment or combination of treatments before it can be made available to all patients with the same type of cancer. Sometimes the study is for people who have not received cancer treatment yet and other studies are for patients who have already completed certain treatment regimens.

There are specific requirements for each trial's participants depending on what is being tested. Some are for more advanced cancer, and some are not. However, in all cases, each trial is for a particular type of patient at certain stages, types of cancer, etc.

If you have heard of a specific trial, you can always talk to your oncologist to see if you are a candidate. At Cancer Care Centers of Brevard we offer many different clinical trials to patients who match the participation criteria.

2. You Will Receive a Treatment, Not a Placebo

Because this is life and death, it's not a case of treatment versus no treatment. Sometimes a clinical trial covers a new treatment against a standard of care treatment. In blind studies, you won't know what kind of treatment you are receiving, but you ARE receiving some form of cancer treatment. If the patient and the oncology team don't know which treatment you're getting, that's a double-blind study. This helps keep bias out of the results.

While participants in a study may not know which treatment they are receiving, they are aware of being involved in the trial before they begin.

3. There Are No Additional Costs to Be in a Clinical Trial

You won't incur additional costs based on your participation in a clinical trial. Of course, that does not mean that the treatment is free. Our financial counselor will help you understand what your insurance will cover as part of standard care, and what costs are covered by the trial.

With the trial you may be asked to come in more often or have more blood work done than you would otherwise. The trial budget covers the cost of those additional items.

Your participation in a clinical trial is helpful for the medical community and future cancer patients. Understanding that you won't incur additional costs removes some of the stresses involved in cancer treatment.

4. Highly Trained Local Oncologists Oversee Your Care

When a Cancer Care Centers of Brevard patient joins a clinical trial through the practice, a local oncologist will oversee their care. There may need to be a switch from one CCCB oncologist to another who is more familiar with the trial protocol, but all of your cancer care team remains right here in Brevard County when on a clinical trial.

Clinical trials frequently utilize an extensive network of medical professionals located all over the country to help administer the trial to patients. Involving a more significant number of professionals in a trial helps to reduce the chances of skewed results that can appear when a small group is responsible for implementing a trial. Independent Clinical Research Organizations (CROs) are hired to run the studies. CCCB participates in clinical trials through Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), a joint venture with US Oncology Research that makes clinical trials available to patients around the country.

5. You Are Never Included in a Clinical Trial Without Consent

Asking questions before agreeing to a clinical trial is always a good idea. Additionally, just because you initially decide to be involved in a clinical trial doesn't mean that you cannot continue asking questions or completely change your mind. Our oncologists understand that cancer treatment is an involved and sometimes emotional process. We always work with our patients to help them understand all of the trial's details and make sure they are comfortable with every step of a program. It is in our best interest to make sure that you understand as much as you can about the treatment to ensure your comfort level.

If you’re interested in a clinical trial, make sure to talk to your Cancer Care Centers of Brevard oncologist about your willingness to learn more. We will work with our clinical research team to find out if there is a trial available for you.

Categories: Clinical Trials