Clinical trials

Clinical trials

Clinical trials look at existing treatments or processes and try to improve them.

Some people with cancer may be offered the chance to be part of a clinical trial. Your specialist or a clinical trial coordinator can tell you about trials and help you decide whether to be involved.

What you need to know

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials look at existing treatments or processes and try to improve them.

Cancer clinical trials investigate many parts of cancer care including:

  • the drugs or treatments used
  • how cancer is diagnosed
  • improving the quality-of-life of people with cancer
  • the effect of lifestyle on cancer
  • managing symptoms
  • the experience of cancer survivorship.

There are strict guidelines for approving and running clinical trials. There are also rules about who can take part, so not everyone who has cancer will have the chance to be part of a trial.

Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

What to ask or talk about

Should I take part in a clinical trial?

Your specialist can tell you if there is a clinical trial that is suitable for you. A clinical trial coordinator can give you information about how trials are run and what will be involved. This can help you to decide whether to take part.

You also need to consider the pros and cons: 

  • If you take part in a clinical trial your care will be very closely monitored. Some people also like knowing they are helping to improve cancer care.
  • On the other hand, you need to consider the effect on your daily life, and whether there are any costs involved. You may also have to travel to another treatment centre.

All of these things may affect your decision.

Clinical trials do not suit everyone. It is important to know that if you choose not to be part of a trial, you will still get the best treatment available.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

My notes: