Clinical Trials For Cancer Treatment: 3 Things You Need To Know

Posted on: 2 June 2017


The idea of entering a clinical trial for cancer treatment is a difficult decision, but it may bring additional hope if your disease is currently not responding to available treatments. Before you make the choice to enroll, make sure you have a clear understanding of clinical trials.

You May Incur Some Costs

Before you agree to participate in a clinical trial, it is important to understand if you are responsible for any costs of participation. If you are insured, your insurance company may cover some parts of the clinical trial, such as routine visits, blood testing, and/or imaging. Whether your insurance company will cover these costs can depend on many factors, such as the type and amount of insurance coverage you have and whether any of these services are performed within your insurance's network.

Since clinical trials may be considered experimental treatments, none of this may be covered by your insurance. If you participate, many clinical trials offer reimbursement for time and travel, which can offset some out-of-pocket expenses. When you want to participate but find there are out-of-pocket costs you cannot afford, do not hesitate to find charitable organizations that may be able to help.

Understand Control And Treatment Groups

The assumption for many people interested in clinical trials is they will receive some form of treatment. This is not always true. Make sure you understand the different group assignments. For example, you may be randomly assigned to a control group. In the case of cancer treatments, the control group typically receives a standard treatment protocol. One or more experimental groups are used to compare to the control group. The experimental groups may have a different treatment that is used alone or in combination with a standardized treatment. If you are entering a clinical trial only because you want the opportunity to try a different treatment option, participation may not be in your best interest because you have no control over your group assignment.

You're Not Stuck

As with any type of clinical trial, you are not stuck after you decide to participate. Participants can choose to exit a clinical trial at any point during the process without any repercussions. If you choose to leave a clinical trial, you should inform the researchers of the exact reason, whenever possible. This can be important information in their data collection, especially if the reason you choose to stop is due to no improvement in your symptoms, worsening of the disease, or side effects.

Clinical trials for cancer can help researchers develop improved treatments for different types of cancer. To have the best possible experience, it is important to have a thorough understanding of clinical trials, such as those through Quintiles.