Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know

+ -Text Size


Summing it all up

Clinical trials can offer benefits for many people during their cancer experience. These may include access to newer or more treatment options, getting more involved medical care, and having a greater sense of control over one’s situation. But by their nature, clinical trials involve some possible risks and downsides, too, and they may not be right for everyone. Your decision on whether to look into or enter a clinical trial should be based on a realistic understanding of the possible risks and benefits.

If you are thinking about entering a clinical trial, there are many groups, including the American Cancer Society, who can help guide you through the information needed to make your decision.

To learn more

More information from your American Cancer Society

Here is some information you might find helpful. You can order free copies of our documents from our toll-free number, 1-800-227-2345, or read them on our Web site,

Clinical trials and cancer treatments

Clinical Trials: State Laws Regarding Insurance Coverage

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Programs

Learning About New Cancer Treatments

Learning About New Ways to Prevent Cancer

Placebo Effect

Informed Consent (also in Spanish)

Compassionate Drug Use

Coping with cancer

Coping With Cancer in Everyday Life (also in Spanish)

Helping Children When A Family Member Has Cancer: Dealing With Treatment (also in Spanish)

National organizations and Web sites*

Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support include:

National Cancer Institute
Toll-free number: 1-800-422-6237 (1-800-4-CANCER)
Web site:

    Offers general cancer information as well as information on clinical trials, deciding whether to take part, finding certain clinical trials, research news, and other resources. Special information on clinical trials at

Cancer Hope Network
Toll-free number: 1-877-467-3638
Web site:

    Matches adult cancer patients with trained volunteers who have recovered from a similar cancer experience for telephone support. One program matches volunteers who have been on clinical trials with others who are considering taking part in a clinical trial.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE)
TTY: 1-877-486-2048
Web site:

    A federal agency with the US Department of Health and Human Services that helps Americans and small companies by ensuring effective, up-to-date health care coverage and promoting quality care for beneficiaries. They help answer questions, give information, and refer callers to state Medicare offices and local HMOs with Medicare contracts. (The Medicare phone number can be used to reach CMS as well.)

*Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.

No matter who you are, we can help. Contact us anytime, day or night, for information and support. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Last Medical Review: 09/21/2012
Last Revised: 09/21/2012