Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment strategies. The development of more effective cancer treatments requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. In oncology, clinical trials are especially important because, in the absence of high cure rates, nearly all therapeutic approaches are developmental in nature. All new cancer drugs that are currently available in the United States were once only available in clinical trials. Patients should decide whether or not participation in a clinical trial is an appropriate treatment option as early in their evaluation as possible because, once treatment of their cancer has been initiated, patients may become ineligible to participate in some clinical trials.
Participating in Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment interventions. The objective of these clinical trials is to test new therapies in patients who have cancer. Patients participate in clinical trials for several reasons, including:
- The potential to benefit from a new drug or treatment procedure
- Improved management of symptoms resulting from treatment from treatment or cancer
- The opportunity to directly contribute to improving the understanding of how to treat a cancer and ultimately, benefit other patients
Patients who participate in clinical trials receive either a promising new treatment or the best available conventional treatment. If a new treatment option is proven to work, patients who are participating in the clinical trial will be among the first to benefit. While there is no guarantee that any treatment will be successful, clinical trials have been proven to offer some of the most effective cancer treatments currently available today.
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