Is a Clinical Trial is Right for You? How to Decide

Deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial can be difficult, even if your oncologist recommends it. Ultimately, it’s your decision, and that can feel like a heavy burden with the many questions that may arise: “What will the investigators do to me? Do I really need this treatment? Will it make me sicker? Will my insurance cover this treatment?”

At Regional Cancer Care Associates, we want you to know that you are not alone. We’re here to help you through the process of finding the right treatments for your specific cancer. Since there are many things to consider when deciding whether to join a clinical trial, discussing the decision with your doctor and your family or trusted friends can be helpful.

If your oncologist suggests a clinical trial, first consider these questions.

Am I Eligible for This Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials have different eligibility requirements. To participate, you may need to be a certain sex or fall within a particular age range. Your eligibility may also depend on your type and stage of cancer, specific treatments you’ve already had, and the medical conditions you have in addition to cancer. You can learn more about the specific eligibility requirements by searching or browsing our database of clinical trials.

What are My Other Options?

When deciding whether to join a clinical trial, review your other options. Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of standard treatments in your case. If the cancer you’re fighting is atypical or standard treatments have not been able to completely remove the cancer, the potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial may outweigh the risks.

What are the Risks and Potential Benefits of this Clinical Trial?

To weigh the clinical trial against standard cancer treatments, read the available materials for the clinical trial you’re considering and speak to your cancer care team about the risks and potential benefits of the clinical trial. Each trial will be different.

What Kinds of Treatments and Tests Will I Receive?

The treatments in clinical trials vary widely. You may be asked to take a pill every day for the duration of the study, or you may be given an injection once a week. Some clinical trials may even involve surgery of some kind. Because clinical trials are designed to test new drugs and treatments for cancer, you will also likely have to undergo more testing than you would with standard treatments.

How Might the Trial Treatments Affect My Daily Life?

Before joining a clinical trial, consider how participating will affect your quality of life on a day-to-day basis. Will you have to travel long distances to take part in the study? Will you have to stop working in order to participate? Will you still have time for your friends and family? These are only a few of the questions you may want to ask.

Will My Insurance Cover the Treatments? Will I Have to Pay Anything?

Typically, insurance will cover only the cost of routine patient care, not the research costs associated with a clinical trial. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to pay more, as trial-related research and care costs are covered by the trial’s sponsor.

Find a Clinical Trial That’s Right for You with Regional Cancer Care Associates

At Regional Cancer Care Associates, we’re dedicated to advancing treatments for cancer. That’s why we provide access to more than 300 clinical cancer trials. These studies often give our patients new hope, and they are essential to developing new methods of preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and curing all types of cancer. To find out if one of our clinical trials is right for you, contact us today to set up an appointment at one of our convenient locations throughout Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.