Deciding to participate

The first step in deciding whether a clinical trial is right for you is to talk with your doctor.

You may also call us to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists or contact a clinical trial coordinator.

What are the steps to enrolling in a clinical trial?

  1. A physician that is legally responsible for the conduct of the clinical trial must evaluate you. Although you may seem eligible for a trial, a specialist may not think the treatment being tested in the trial would provide benefit to you and your particular cancer.
  2. If a trial is recommended for you, you will be invited to participate in the informed consent process, in which you must be fully informed of all aspects of trial participation. Only after you agree that all your questions have been answered, will you be invited to sign the consent form for participation. Your participation is voluntary, and you can withdraw consent at any time.
  3. A series of protocol-specific procedures, steps in the clinical trial approved by the FDA, will be conducted to ensure that it is safe for you to participate in the trial.
  4. If it is deemed safe to continue after screening, you will be enrolled onto the trial and your study treatment will begin.

Talk with your doctor

When you talk with your doctor or members of the research team about a clinical trial, consider taking a family member or friend along. It can help to have another set of ears and eyes in the room.

Writing down what you want to ask your doctor ahead of time can also be helpful — but don’t hesitate to ask any new questions you think of while you’re there. It’s a good idea to bring a pen and notebook so you can write down the answers as well.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What is the purpose of the trial?
  • How are trial results and patient safety being checked?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • What are the potential short- and long-term benefits?
  • What other options do people with any type of cancer have?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?
  • What kinds of therapies, procedures and/or tests will I have during the trial and would I have them if I did not participate in the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I receive my medical care?
  • How might being in this study affect my daily life?
  • May I talk to other people in the study?
  • May I leave the trial at any time?