Clinical Trials: Should I Take Part?

For more information on clinical trials at Fox Chase Cancer Center, or to find a study, call

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Why participate in clinical trials?
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Before you decide to take part in a clinical trial, you should know more about it.


Each study has a plan called a protocol. It explains all the facts about the clinical trial, such as:

  • The reason for doing the study
  • Who can join the clinical trial
  • How many people can take part in the trial
  • Any drugs someone in the trial will be given, the amount they are given, how often they will receive them and how it will be given to them
  • What medical tests are given and how often
  • What information will be gathered from the study

Informed Consent

Informed Consent

Once you've decided to participate, an Informed Consent form is required. More

Each study also has a process called informed consent. This is how you learn all the facts about the trial before you decide to take part. You must read these facts in a language you can understand and ask your doctor questions about anything you don’t understand. You will get a form that explains:

  • Why the study is being done
  • All the facts about the treatment and tests
  • Possible risks and benefits
  • Alternative treatment choices
  • Your right to leave the study at any time
  • Any costs that might not be paid for
  • How your medical records will be kept private

If you agree to take part in a study, you will sign a consent form. Signing the form means you understand all the facts about the trial. Even after you sign the consent form, you can still choose not to be in the study at any time.

Things To Think About
All Treatments Have Both Benefits And Risks

You may feel overwhelmed by the idea of a clinical trial. Here are some things to think about before you decide to take part.

Possible Benefits of a Clinical Trial

  • You may get a new treatment that is not yet open to people outside of the study
  • The research team will watch you closely
  • If the treatment being studied is better than the standard treatment, you may be first
    to benefit
  • The trial may help scientists learn more about cancer and help people in the future

Possible Risks of a Clinical Trial

  • The new treatment may not be better than, or even as good as, the standard treatment
  • New treatments may have side effects that your doctors do not expect
  • You may have to make more visits to the doctor than if you were getting standard treatment
  • There may be extra costs for these extra visits, like travel or child care
  • You may need more tests. Some of the tests could be uncomfortable or take a lot of time
  • Even if a new treatment works in some patients, it may not work for you.
  • Insurance may not cover all patient care costs

Questions to Ask

It’s normal to have a lot of questions. Here are some questions you may want to ask a member of your healthcare team before you decide.

About this trial

  • Why is this trial being done?
  • How long will I be in the trial?
  • What kinds of tests and treatment will I have?
  • What are the possible side effects or risks of the new treatment?
  • What are the possible benefits of the treatment?
  • How will we know when the treatment is working?
  • Who is my trial care team?
  • What information will be shared with me?
  • How will my information be kept private?
  • What are my rights?


  • Will I have to pay for any of the tests or treatments?
  • What costs will my health insurance cover?

Daily Life

  • How could the trial affect my daily life?
  • How often will I have to come to the hospital or clinic?
  • Will I have to travel far to take part in the trial?

Comparing Treatment Options

  • What are my other treatment choices, including standard treatments?
  • How does the treatment I would get in the trial compare with other treatment choices?

Clinical Trial Information

For more information contact the Resource and Education Center (REC) at (888)Fox-Chase.

You may call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service at: 800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

You may also visit the NCI website at http://cancer.gov

PRE-ACT (Prepatory Education About Clinical Trials) is an educational program designed to provide general information about clinical trials. PRE-ACT was developed with support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to help patients better understand what clinical trials are and how the work. PRE-ACT delivers clinical trial information through a series of short videos.