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Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Trials

1.      What are Oncology clinical trials?

A clinical trial tries to answer scientific questions and find better ways to prevent, treat or diagnose cancer. Clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, new drug doses, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy and new combinations of treatments. Unfortunately, only three to five percent of cancer patients participate in clinical trials. As more people choose to participate in trials, the more options for treating cancer will become available.

2.      What type of trials does NMCC participate in?

Our clinical trials are designed to answer questions about new ways to:

  • Treat cancer such as new drugs and vaccines, ways to give radiation therapy or a combination of both
  • Manage symptoms or side effects from treatment

3.      What kind of care can I expect to receive if I choose to participate?

Patients participating in our clinical trial program will receive the same great level of personal care than those who do not participate. You are monitored closely by our multi-disciplinary team of doctors and certified research staff so they can report the results of the trial accurately. You will have access to our team whenever you have questions about the new drug or treatment throughout the clinical trial and after.

4.      Will I be given a placebo?

Patients who participate in treatment trials at NMCC are randomly assigned to one of three groups – the group receiving the standard treatment, the group receiving the treatment being tested, or the group that receives both the standard and the tested treatment.

5.      What if I decide during the trial that I do not want to participate?

Participation is completely voluntary and you can stop the trial at any time after consulting with your physician regarding your decision.

6.      What safeguards are put in place to protect me during a clinical trial?

Federal regulations ensure that people are told about the benefits, risks and purpose of research before they agree to participate. Federal regulations also require oversight of the trial by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). An IRB is a neutral group of physicians, healthcare providers and ordinary citizens not involved in the trial being reviewed. This group reviews all information and oversees the trial to make sure it is conducted fairly and safely.

Strict guidelines are set up to minimize risk to study volunteers. Physicians and research nurses explain the risks of the trial. They also closely monitor study volunteers to identify any changes in their condition. Data and safety monitoring boards may also be used to ensure that risks are minimized, to ensure data integrity and stop a trial if safety concerns arise or the objective of the trial has been met.