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Clinical Trials for Colorectal Cancer

What Is Informed Consent? continued...

You will be given an informed consent form to read and consider carefully. Before signing, be sure you find out as much as possible about the clinical trial, including what risks you may face. Ask the doctor or nurse to explain parts of the form or the trial that are not clear. (See below, Important Questions to Ask.)

You are free to decide whether or not you want to take part in the trial. If you decide to participate, you will sign the consent form. If you do not want to participate in the trial, you may refuse. If you choose not to participate in the trial, your care will not be affected in any way.

Your signature on the informed consent form does not bind you to the study. Even if you sign the form, you are free to leave the trial at any time to receive other available treatments, without penalty.

The informed consent process is ongoing. After you agree to participate in a clinical trial, you will continue to receive any new information about your treatment that may affect your willingness to stay in the trial.

Who Can Participate in a Clinical Trial for Colorectal Cancer?

Every clinical trial for colorectal cancer is designed to meet a specific set of research criteria. Each study enrolls patients with certain conditions and symptoms. If you fit the guidelines for a trial, you may be able to participate. In some instances, you may be required to undergo certain tests to confirm your acceptability as a candidate.

What Is it Like to Participate in a Clinical Trial?

All patients face a new world of medical terms and procedures when participating in a clinical trial. Fears and myths of being experimented on or "being a guinea pig" are common concerns of patients thinking about participating in a clinical trial.

Even though there will always be fear of the unknown, understanding what is involved in a clinical trial before agreeing to participate can relieve some anxiety.

This may help ease your concerns:

  • The personal information gathered about you during the clinical trial will remain confidential and will not be reported with your name attached.
  • If at any time throughout the trial you and your doctor feel it is in your best interest to exit the trial and use other known treatments, you will be free to do so. This will not in any way affect your future treatment.
  • Clinical trial participants typically receive their care in a clinic or doctor's office -- the same places that standard treatments are given.
  • Clinical trial participants are watched closely and information about them is carefully recorded and reviewed.

Important Questions to Ask About Clinical Trials

If you are thinking about joining a clinical trial for colorectal cancer, find out as much as possible about the study before you decide to participate. Here are some important questions to ask:

  1. What is the purpose of this trial?


  2. What kinds of tests and treatments does this trial involve and how are these tests given?


  3. What is likely to happen in my situation with, or without, this new research treatment? Are there standard treatment options for my situation, and how does the study compare with them?


  4. How could the clinical trial affect my daily life?


  5. What side effects can I expect from the clinical trial?


  6. How long will the clinical trial last?


  7. Will the clinical trial require extra time on my part?


  8. Will I have to be hospitalized? If so, how often, and for how long?


  9. If I agree to withdraw from the clinical trial, will my care be affected? Will I need to change doctors?

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on July 05, 2012

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