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Ask Your Doctor

Clinical trials are critical to finding treatments and cures more quickly

Many cancer treatments available today exist because they were studied using real people. Once we discover a treatment is successful, it becomes the new way of caring for patients, also called the standard of care.

Today there is a persistent shortage of volunteers for clinical trials. More than half of children with cancer in the U.S. are enrolled in a cancer clinical trial, but less than 5% of adult cancer patients enroll in a cancer study. If more patients enrolled in clinical trials, we would find answers and solutions more quickly, and many more lives would be saved.

You are your own best advocate

It’s important to remember you are your own best advocate. This is especially true when it comes to getting the cancer care you need and deserve. So if you’ve received a cancer diagnosis or have a recurrence, ask your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. And if you have a loved one facing cancer, don’t hesitate to ask on their behalf.

Being diagnosed with cancer is very stressful and frightening, but finding options can give you a sense of control over this difficult situation. The key is to ask early and often. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • ask all your cancer providers (surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and others – IS THERE A CLINICAL TRIAL FOR ME?
  • ask for your case to be reviewed at tumor board and for the doctors to discuss your eligibility for a cancer study.
  • go online and determine if there is a clinical trial for your cancer, one of the best resources is: clinicaltrials.gov
    • if you find a clinical trial that could work, share the information with your care team
  • ask a cancer navigator to work with your doctors to find out if you are eligible for a clinical trial
  • keep asking about cancer studies throughout your treatment because there are treatments for newly diagnosed patients, recurrent patients, survivorship and every phase of life after the diagnosis

For more education on participating in a cancer clinical trial, please view 10 Myths and Misconceptions about cancer Clinical Trials by ENACCT (Education Network to Advance Cancer Clinical Trials).