For some patients, the best treatment option may be to enter into a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are an important part of cancer investigation which determine whether new treatments are safe and effective, as well as whether they are better than standard treatments.

Research has led to many important advances and investigators continue to seek more effective anti-cancer treatments. When a clinical trial demonstrates that a new treatment or drug is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard.

Many of today's standard treatments were arrived at through clinical trials.

Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve how cancer will be treated in the future. Even though clinical trials do not always lead to more effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.

Patients can enter a clinical trial before, during, or after starting their cancer treatment, depending on the trial protocol and conditions. Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received any treatment. Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not responded to treatment.
There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment.

People who participate in clinical trials may be the first to benefit if the new approach is proved effective. Even if participants do not benefit directly they still make an important contribution to medical science by helping doctors learn more about the disease and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients and all trial protocols must be approved by an Ethical Committee.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, talk to your medical oncologist. They will explain how clinical trials are carried out, as well as the potential benefits and risks.