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Clinical Trials: Where Do I Start?

Clinical Trials: Where Do I Start?
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Published on February 5, 2020

My Clinical Trial Takeaways

I know from firsthand experience how terrifying it is having been diagnosed with two cancers. But you have to catch your breath and asking the right questions of the right people can give you confidence, hope and even access to “tomorrow’s medicine today” via a clinical trial.

None of us are prepared for a cancer diagnosis nor know much, if anything, about clinical trials. Sadly, given the explosion in cancer research, doctors are not always well-informed either. That means YOU have to ask questions and maybe go “the extra mile” to find out all your options—approved medicines and those in trials. 

Visitors to Patient Power have learned about trials and those who have participated in a trial, feel it provided benefit, and would participate again, if they needed to.

How Do I Create a Beneficial Clinical Trial Experience?

  • Testing: Ask your doctor if you have had all the appropriate tests to provide a clear picture of what type and subtype of a cancer you have
  • Clinical Trial Location: Based on your specific situation, ask if there are clinical trials at your clinic or ANYWHERE that should be considered.
  • Support: Reach out to a non-profit patient organization for your cancer (easily found online) or join the cancer-specific group on Facebook.  Ask who they would recommend as a specialist to give you a second opinion.
  • Financial Support: After you have a healthcare team you trust, ask if there is financial support for the logistics of being in the trial. Note that many sponsors and some non-profits provide support for you. But you must ask!
  • Progress on Trial:  Ask to be kept informed about the progress of a trial you enter. How is it going, what are they learning, are results being presented at medical conferences or in prominent medical journals, and has the medicine subsequently been FDA “fast-tracked” or approved?

Head over to our Patient Power Clinical Trial page to learn more about clinical trial myths—such as will I be given a placebo or will I be treated like a guinea pig?

Remember to be a savvy consumer and make sure all your options—including participation in a clinical trial—are on the table as you go along your cancer journey. A clinical trial could be an appropriate option at any point, but it may require you to speak up or seek that option out. It could be life-extending.

~Andrew Schorr

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


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