A clinical trial is a study used to develop better ways to prevent, detect or treat cancer. Clinical trials test different types of treatment: new drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, or new combinations of treatment. When the method of treatment has been found to be safe it can then be offered to the public. Cancer treatments that are used today were developed and tested first as a clinical trial.
Clinical trials give cancer patients access to the newest types of treatment. By taking part in a clinical trial you may benefit from a new treatment which may prove to be effective as or more effective than the standard treatment available for your type of cancer at this time.
Enrolment in a clinical trial is voluntary and is usually done before the start of treatment. Before enrolling you will be provided with information about the trial and the treatment, tests, potential benefits and side effects.
Clinical trials follow very strict ethical guidelines which protect patients' health, safety and privacy. Clinical trials must be approved by Health Canada, the hospital or clinic where the study will take place and its Research Ethics Board. If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk to your physician. They will assist you in finding out if you are eligible to enter a specific trial depending on the type of cancer you have, your age and other factors.
Other studies or research
You may be asked to participate in other research studies looking for ways people manage cancer and its treatments. It is okay to say no if you are asked to take part in one of these studies. This will not affect what cancer treatment is given to you.