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Informed Consent for Cancer Clinical Trials

The Importance of Informed Consent

Informed consent is the process that ensures that cancer clinical trials are conducted ethically, without undue risk to the participants. It is only one part of a larger system of protections for people who want to help researchers evaluate new medical treatments, procedures, and prevention techniques.

The current informed consent system in the United States has evolved over the last half-century to ensure that risks do not outweigh potential benefits, that trials use appropriate study designs, and to guarantee that participants can withdraw at any time.

The consent system continues to evolve, with ongoing efforts to increase the readability of consent documents and the embracing of new technologies, such as the Internet, to communicate with research participants and those who might consider participating in cancer clinical research.