The pros and cons of taking part in a clinical trial

The pros and cons of taking part in a clinical trial

OneVillage
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OneVillage
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OneVillage Team

22 days ago at 8:04 PM

This article provides a concise and helpful list of the advantages and disadvantages of participating in a clinical trial.

The pros

The advantages of taking part in a trial include:

  • you may have a treatment which is only available as part of a trial
  • the new treatment may work better than the standard treatment (no one knows this for sure, which is why the trial is being done)
  • you could help to improve cancer treatment for patients in the future
  • you may have more blood tests, scans or other cancer tests
  • you may have check ups more often and for longer than usual

Many people find it reassuring to have extra tests and appointments, but not everyone does. Only you know how you feel about this. The research team will explain all the tests and appointments you’ll have, before you decide whether to enter the trial.

The cons

As with any treatment, you may have unexpected or serious side effects. The research team will tell you what they know about the treatment so far, and what they think the side effects will be. But there is some risk that an experimental treatment could harm you.

Remember that even in phase 1 or phase 2 trials treatments have been carefully researched in the laboratory before people have them. And with phase 3 trials, the doctors know more about the new treatment, so there is less risk of having a harmful side effect. (Note: for more information about the phases of clinical trials, click here.)

Other drawbacks include that:

  • you will probably have to do some extra paperwork
  • you may have more blood tests, scans or other cancer tests
  • you may have check ups more often and for longer than usual
  • the extra appointments may cost you time and money (for bus fares or car parking for example)

Some people find the extra tests and appointments make them more nervous and mean they think about having cancer too often. But some people find it reassuring. Everyone is different.

The research team will explain all the tests and appointments you’ll have, before you decide whether to enter the trial.

4 comments

Last activity by Mary Foti

M
Mary Foti

This is a great list of pros & cons - many of which I didn't know about! Usually articles about clinical trials are super "science-y" and hard to understand. Thanks for posting this one

Jim
Jim Delaney

Great info. Thank you for sharing it.

Justin
Justin Perdania

People agreed to take part in clinical trials for a range of reasons. Some people were thinking mainly about their own personal health, while others were more concerned with helping other patients and medical research more generally.

Vicky
Vicky Bleach

Is it a good idea to do a clinical trial? Each clinical trial has its own benefits and risks. But for the most part, clinical trials (other than phase 0) have some of the same potential benefits

Anonymous

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