How to Find a Clinical Trial for Cancer Treatment

[music] A clinical trial is a medical research study
that involves volunteers and helps doctors find better treatments for cancer. Clinical trials can offer people with cancer
additional options for their treatment, and it is important to talk about both the potential
benefits and risks of each study with your doctor and the study’s research team. Clinical trials are used for all types and
stages of cancer. When patients are seeing their physician to
begin to think about how to best treat their cancer, one of the first things that they
should think about, really, are clinical trials. In today’s clinical trial environment, the
studies are there to help patients and provide the most innovative therapy. And in fact, there are data now to demonstrate
that patients that are going on clinical trials actually do better than ones that don’t get
treated on a clinical trial. There are many resources available to help
you find clinical trials that you may be able to take part in. Talking first with your cancer specialist
is a good place to start. There is sometimes so much information out
there that it’s hard to coalesce it and really bring it into something that’s understandable
for the individual. The best place and usually the first place
to start is by asking their medical oncologist, “are there clinical trials that I am eligible
for?” Many online resources are also available for
patients to research which clinical trials may be right for them. The search for a clinical trial should be
a partnership between the patient and their oncologist. A patient may go on a website, enter a few
search criteria and find a list of clinical trials that may be applicable to their situation. That would be a great time to go back to their
physician and say “Hey, this is what I found, what makes sense for me? What drugs are you seeing? What do you think might be the best option? And their medical oncologist can help them
sort through it. And so it becomes really a back and forth
relationship where the patient becomes their best advocate and their medical oncologist
really aids in that process. Clinical trials follow strict rules in order
to keep patients safe, structure the research, and study the effects of new treatments. It is important for patients to understand
that each clinical trial has specific criteria, and that they may not be eligible for certain
trials. We have to understand that clinical trials
are essentially a set of rules. And, unfortunately, their oncologist or the
investigator doesn’t have the liberty to break those rules. And sometimes those rules include specific
types of patients with different prior therapies or different locations of their disease, etc.,
etc., where the clinical trial is looking for a patient population that might be specific
and, unfortunately, the patient may not fit into it. If a patient is not eligible for a certain
clinical trial, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t another clinical trial that is suited
for them. What I encourage patients to do is think about
clinical trials, talk to their physician about clinical trials. Go into the process with the knowledge that
they may not be eligible for every clinical trial that looks attractive. Not to get frustrated and continue to think
about it throughout their entire treatment process. Even after they’ve been treated for their
cancer, there are a lot of different studies that are looking at survivorship or other
issues in patients. There are several internet sites that are
excellent—Cancer.Net is one of those sites. But in addition to that, there’s But I’d also go to the local cancer center
website and most NCI Designated Cancer Centers now will have a specific area on their website
that’s dedicated to clinical trials. For more information on what clinical trials
are, things to consider in treatment decision-making, and how to find a clinical trial that may
be right for you, patients and their loved ones can visit Cancer.Net/clinicaltrials. One of the best resources, quite honestly,
for patients that are trying to navigate not only their disease, but for clinical trials,
is Cancer.Net. It’s written in lay language so that it’s
easy to understand. It also provides links to different clinical
trials for that specific situation. And it can really help patients get through
what sometimes can be a very confusing process. It is really set up with the patient in mind
and to help them navigate the situation. [music]

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