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Should I Participate in a Cancer Clinical Trial?

What Are the Benefits of Cancer Clinical Trials?

As with just about any decision, there are pros and cons you must weigh to decide what is best for you. The same holds true for cancer clinical trials. By taking a close look at the benefits and risks of participating, you can make an informed decision about whether it is in your best interest or not.
Some of the possible benefits of taking part in a cancer clinical trial include:
  • Access to new treatment that is not available to anyone not participating in the trial
  • Your medical costs associated with being in the trial are generally paid for by the sponsor
  • Close monitoring by the research team to ensure the trials are safe for participants
  • If the treatment being researched is more effective than the standard treatment, you will be among the first to benefit
  • You will further scientific understanding about cancer to help people in the future.

How About the Risks?

On the other side, there are some drawbacks to doing a clinical trial for cancer. Some of these potential risks may include:
  • The standard treatment may be better than the new one being studied
  • The new treatment may have unexpected side effects or side effects that are worse than the standard treatment
  • The new treatment may require extra tests, which may be uncomfortable or time consuming
  • You may have extra expenses, such as travel and childcare costs, if the new treatment requires more visits to the doctor than if you were receiving the standard treatment
  • The new treatment may be beneficial for others but not for you
  • Healthcare insurance may not cover all the costs involved with the trial.
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