Learning About New Cancer Treatments
What does this mean to you?
After going over what all of these things mean, here are some questions about new treatments you will want answered:
- Was the new treatment tested in the lab (on cells in a dish, called in vitro), in animals, or in humans (in vivo)?
- Who did the study? Was it done at a reputable cancer treatment center?
- Are there other studies that were done before that support this outcome?
- If the study was done in humans, how many were involved? How long were they followed?
- Was there a control group (people who got standard treatment)?
- Were similar people chosen at random to get either the standard treatment or the new treatment (randomized)?
- Was the study blinded (were the patients and/or doctors kept from knowing who got which treatment while the patient was being watched for the effects of the treatment)?
- Was there a difference in outcome between the group taking standard treatment and the group taking the new treatment?
- Was the difference in outcome measured in survival, recurrence, symptoms, or some other marker?
- Was the study published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, or was it presented at a conference or sent out in a press release?
- Is the treatment still in clinical trials in humans or has it been approved by the FDA?
- If the treatment hasn’t been approved, is it available through expanded access or compassionate use? (Compassionate drug use is when seriously ill patients use a new, unapproved drug when no other treatments are available. Call us to learn more about this.)
- Is the treatment likely to be harmful? What’s known about side effects?
Last Medical Review: 09/04/2012
Last Revised: 09/04/2012