Weighing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Clinical Trials
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What are the Benefits of Clinical Trials?
The potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial include the following:
- Access to promising new approaches often not available outside the clinical trial setting
- Treatment that may be more effective than the standard approach
- Close monitoring by a research team of doctors and other health professionals
- Opportunity to be the first to benefit from the new method under study
- Adding to what is known about your cancer, possibly leading to improved options in the future
What are the Possible Drawbacks?
The clinical trial process is not risk-free. Study investigators anticipate many of the side effects, but not all can be known ahead of time. Remember, most standard cancer treatments also have side effects, which can include nausea, hair loss and lowering of the blood counts. Many side effects can be managed with medication.
The possible drawbacks of participating in a clinical trial include the following:
- New drugs or procedures under study are not always better than the standard care to which they are being compared.
- Even if a new treatment has benefits, it may not work for you.
- New treatments may have side effects or risks that doctors do not expect or that are worse than standard care.
- Health insurance and managed care providers may not cover all patient care costs in a study.
- Participants may be required to make more visits to the doctor than they would if they were not in the clinical trial.
For more information about clinical trials at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to find a study, call 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).