Clinical Trials for Colorectal Cancer
What Are the Advantages of Participating in a Clinical Trial?
- You may receive a new treatment before it is widely available to the public.
- You can provide researchers with the information they need to continue developing new procedures and introducing new treatment methods.
- Your treatment costs may be decreased, because the company or agency sponsoring the study may pay for many of the tests and doctor visits directly related to the trial. Be sure to discuss your treatment costs with the doctors and nurses conducting the trial.
Could Problems Arise From Participating in a Clinical Trial?
This will depend on the type of treatment and the participant's condition.
Because the drug or device being studied is new, all of the risks and side effects of the treatment are not known at the beginning of the clinical trial. There may be unknown side effects, as well as expected and unexpected benefits. It is important to note that most treatments, as well as the disease or condition itself, have potential unpleasant effects.
Participants will be informed of any known side effects they could experience, as well as any side effects that occur or become known while they are participating in the trial.
How Would My Treatment Be Different if I Participated in a Clinical Trial?
- You may receive more examinations and tests than are usually given for your particular condition. The purpose of these tests is to follow your progress and collect study data. Of course, tests can carry certain benefits and risks or discomforts of their own. Although they can be inconvenient, these tests ensure close observation.
- Depending on the type of clinical trial, you may be asked to stop or change the medication(s) you are currently taking. You may also be asked to change your diet or any activities that could affect the outcome of the trial.
- Some clinical trials are double-blind, placebo-controlled. This means that the clinical trial participants may receive the real drug or an inactive substance (sugar pill) that looks exactly like the drug (called a placebo). Neither the participant nor the researchers will know which drug they are receiving. "Blinding" is a safety net intended to help the researchers separate the real effects of a treatment from the "placebo effect" -- positive changes people often experience merely by being treated at all, and not as a result of any particular treatment.
- Clinical trial participants are willing volunteers. Even though participants may be asked by their doctors to take part in a clinical trial, it is up to the patient to make the final decision.
What Is Informed Consent?
Informed consent means that as a colorectal cancer patient, you are given all available information so you can understand what is involved in a specific clinical trial. The doctors and nurses conducting the trial will explain the treatment to you, including its possible benefits and risks.