What Are Clinical Trials?

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Whether you are facing sarcoma or another type of illness, you may have heard about clinical trials. What are they? Are they right for me? Will a clinical trial cure me of my disease? We know these questions are common, so we decided to put together five facts to help you navigate the world of clinical trials.

Fact 1: Clinical trials are research studies that include people.

Clinical trials are the last phase in a lengthy process that was started with research in a laboratory. They are research studies intended to assess the safety and/or success of drugs and devices and new ways of preventing, discovering and treating a disease.

Fact 2: In the instance of cancer, clinical trials are meant to test ways to discover, diagnose, prevent and treat cancer. They are also held to learn new ways of managing side effects from cancer treatments.

Fact 3: Clinical trials can be separated into three phases.

In the first two phases, researchers determine whether the treatment they are testing is safe, that is has a benefit, if there are side effects and what is the appropriate amount to be most effective. Phase 3 involves a large amount of people to ensure results are accurate. In this phase (3) researchers compare the safety and success of the new treatment versus the current treatments.

Fact 4: There are clinical trials for sarcoma

Visit the sarcoma resources section of EricDDavisFoundation.org to find out where you can see a list of current clinical trials for the many subtypes of sarcoma.

Fact 5: You should be prepared to talk to your doctor and the principal investigator (or other researcher directly involved) before starting a clinical trial.

Some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

What is the goal of the trial?

How long is my role in the trial?

What can I expect to experience as far as treatments/testing is concerned?

Are there known side effects?

How will this impact my daily life today and in the future?

Will I need to stay in the hospital?

What phase of the trial will I be in?

Will this cost me anything?

Can you refer me to a person who has been in the trial?

What are the reasons this treatment may be better/worse than current treatments?

How will we know if the treatment is effective? Will they share that information with me or my doctor?

Have we reviewed all of my treatment options?

For comprehensive addional information about cancer clinical trails, visit the National Cancer Institute. 

Please note this is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional.

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