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Learn About Cancer Clinical Trials

What Is a Cancer Clinical Trial?

A cancer clinical trial is a medical research study in which people participate as volunteers to test new methods of prevention, screening, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease. A cancer clinical trial can also be referred to as a cancer clinical study.

Some cancer patients may fear that enrolling in a cancer trial means they chance receiving no cancer treatment at all, but the reality is that patients in clinical trials receive either the best cancer treatment currently known for their cancer, or a new, and possibly more effective, therapy.

To learn more about cancer clinical trials and to get your questions answered, click on the links below.

Where do cancer clinical trials take place?

What are the phases of a cancer clinical trial?

What is a randomized cancer clinical trial?

Why are “randomized trials” important in developing new treatments for cancer?

What is standard therapy?

What is an investigational drug?

What is the difference between "standard therapy" and "experimental therapy" in a cancer clinical trial?

What is a “placebo?”

If I enter a cancer clinical trial is there a chance I will receive a “placebo” (eg, sugar pill) instead of a therapy that could treat my cancer?

How would my cancer clinical trial “experience” compare with my “standard of care” treatment?

Are cancer survivors satisfied with their cancer clinical trial experience?

Yes, very. Survivors who participated in a study conducted by the Coalition reported they were very satisfied with the cancer clinical trial experience, with 91% indicating they would recommend participating in a trial to a friend. Additional study results showed:

  • 97% felt they were fully informed on risks and benefits
  • 96% felt they were treated with dignity and respect
  • 92% had a positive experience

Are cancer clinical trials just for advanced cancer?

Are there cancer clinical trials for people who do not have cancer, but who are at a higher risk of the disease due to their family history?