Understanding Chemotherapy: A Guide for Patients and Families

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What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are carefully designed research studies that test promising new cancer treatments. You may want to talk to your doctor about this option. Patients who take part in research studies will be the first to benefit from these treatments. The study results will also help other patients. In a clinical trial, you get either standard treatment or a new treatment that’s thought to be as good as – or maybe better than – the standard treatment. Studies are never done to see if you would recover from cancer without treatment at all. As with any other medical treatment, you are free to withdraw from a clinical trial at any time and seek other treatment options.

To learn more about clinical trials:

  • Ask for our document called Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know, or read it on our Web site.
  • The American Cancer Society also offers a Clinical Trials Matching Service to help you find clinical trials that might be right for you. The service is available by telephone from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday at 1-800-303-5691, or you can fill out a screening questionnaire anytime at www.cancer.org/clinicaltrials.
  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) can also give you a list of clinical trials that might be right for you. Call 1-800-422-6237, or visit the NCI’s Web site at www.nci.nih.gov.

Last Medical Review: 03/07/2013
Last Revised: 03/07/2013