This is a hard question to answer, since clinical trials entail different potential benefits and risks depending on the individual, the cancer diagnosis and stage, and the treatment proposed. People often believe that they will get more scientifically advanced treatment if they enroll in a clinical trial. Some people with advanced disease who want treatment may only have the option of enrolling in a clinical trial if standard treatments are not available.
Clinical trials usually involve more frequent check-ups and detailed interviews regarding symptoms than traditional treatment follow-up to make sure that the treatment is working properly and is without significant side effects. And, since clinical trials are often performed at major cancer centers, patients may believe they are getting the state-of-the-art treatment for their cancer, which is often the case. Keep in mind, however, that the treatment involved in clinical trials may have side effects, as any cancer treatment does, but sometimes the effects of these treatments involved in clinical trials are not as well known as the effects of standard cancer therapy.
There-fore, make sure your loved one enters a clinical trial with “eyes open,” understanding all the pros and cons of the proposed study including possible harm and side effects, and potential benefits. This research may benefit other patients being treated in the future by allowing doctors to test new and potentially better treatments.