Should I Take Part?

This is a personal decision. Patients should talk with their physician and the people closest to them. The information that follows may help as you think about your options. Before seriously considering participation in a clinical trial, one of the first questions should be: Am I eligible?

Participating in a clinical trial requires that you meet eligibility criteria. These criteria vary from study to study and may include age, gender and health issues, as well as the type and stage of cancer you have. It may also depend on whether you've had other cancer treatment or other health issues. Using eligibility criteria is an important principle of medical research because it helps produce reliable results.

Eligibility criteria also offer additional patient protections. People who are likely to be harmed by study drugs or other treatments should not participate in a clinical trial. Weighing the pros and cons of clinical trial participation can be helpful. While a clinical trial can be beneficial, it may have drawbacks, too. Here are some factors to consider:

  • New treatments under study are not always better than, or even as good as, standard care.
  • There may be unexpected side effects.
  • The new treatment might not work for you.
  • The standard treatment might not work for you.
  • Your health insurance provider may not cover some patient care costs.

Deciding to participate in a clinical trial is an important decision. If you're considering participation in a clinical trial, make sure you get all the information you need to feel comfortable about your decision. You are the only one who can decide what's right for you.