What to Ask
Only you can decide whether or not to participate in a clinical trial. Before you make your decision, here are some suggestions:
- Learn as much as possible about your disease. See the Cancer Topics section of this Web site for information about different types of cancer.
- Search the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute website for local trials or National Cancer Institute's (NCI) registry of cancer clinical trials.
- Contact the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute clinical trials coordinator or NCI's cancer information specialists. They can answer many of your questions about cancer and clinical trials, and guide you to more information.
If you are considering participating in a clinical trial, you should feel free to ask any questions or bring up any issues about the trial at any time.
What questions should I ask my doctor?If you are offered treatment through a clinical trial, your doctor may help you decide if participating is right for you. Here are some questions to ask your doctor:
- Does this new treatment (or drug) make sense for my type of cancer?
- What are the potential benefits and risks of the clinical trial for me?
- What are my options if I do not choose to participate in the clinical trial? What are the potential risks and benefits of these other options?
- Will participating in a clinical trial cost me additional money? Require additional time?
- Can I choose to stop participating in the clinical trial at any time?
If you are offered the chance to participate in a clinical trial, please consider it carefully. Ask the questions above to help you decide if clinical trial participation is for you.
Here are some tips for when you talk with your doctor or members of a research team:
- Consider taking a family member or friend along for support, and to help you ask questions or record the answers.
- Plan ahead what to ask, but don't hesitate to ask any new questions you think of while you're there.
- Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember them all.
- Write down the answers so you can review them whenever you want.
- Consider bringing a tape recorder to make a taped record of what is said, even if you write down answers.
Here are some other questions to consider:
- What is the purpose of the study?
- Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
- Who will sponsor the study?
- Who has reviewed and approved the study?
- How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
- How long will the study last?
If I participate, what will I have to do?
Possible Risks and Benefits
- What are the possible short-term benefits to me?
- What are the possible long-term benefits to me?
- What are the short-term risks, such as side effects?
- What are the possible long-term risks to me?
- What other options do people with my risk of cancer or type of cancer have?
How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?
Participation and Care
- What kinds of therapies, procedures or tests will be done during the trial?
- Will they hurt? If so, for how long?
- How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
- Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
- Where will I have my medical care?
Who will be in charge of my care?
- How could being in this study affect my daily life?
Can I talk to other people in the study?
- Will I have to pay for any part of the study, such as tests or drugs?
- If so, what will the charges likely be?
- What is my health insurance likely to cover?
- Who can help me answer questions from my insurance company or health plan?
- Will I have travel or child care costs if I participate?