Published on February 13, 2013
Patients and physicians alike are celebrating the many new treatments available and expected soon for prostate cancer. While these approvals are possible because patients agreed to participate in clinical trials and the results turned out well, many men are hesitant to participate or their families discourage them from participating. Two leading advocates stress the benefits of participating, and one points out a legal challenge that should be overcome.
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Transcript | Benefits and Challenges of Participating in a Clinical Trial for Prostate Cancer
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None of these drugs would get approved if there hadn’t been men who were in clinical trials, and the pace of research is increasing. What would you say to men to at least consider being in a clinical trial, particularly if they have advanced disease?
I think one of the things we have, and one of the things I face every day as an advocate is how do we get people to, number one, believe in clinical trials and understand that they can be effective for them. In America right now 97 percent of pediatric trials are subscribed. If we can send our children into pediatric trials, clinical trials, why can’t we do it for ourselves? We need to understand that oftentimes clinical trials are the best standard of medicine we can get, and at worst the clinical trial is going to be the accepted standard of care we can get.
If we think selfishly the idea is we have opportunity to try a new agent. We should be willing to go for it to extend our lives, to increase our quality of life, to have a family life, a future life with our people. If nothing else, for the people who come behind us we leave a legacy.
Dr. Erik Briers:
Not being in a clinical trial, being hesitant, is an error. It always depends of course on the patient. There are patients, they are not well informed on how clinical trials proceed, and one of the problems is that many of these clinical trials, especially those that originate from the companies, for instance, they don’t have patients when they design the clinical trial. They even succeed in making these documents for the patients without involving patients. I do know that some of these documents are impossible to read by a patient. They are even impossible to understand by a patient, so how would you as a trial conductor want the patient in.
And too, the patient, the man says, okay, I want a shot at life because these clinical trials very often is, it’s a shot at life, but his family says no because they read the document and they say, Dad, have you seen all these side effects? Have you read all this, and the litigation? The documents are not patient friendly. They are lawyer friendly. We are not lawyers. We are patients. We want to go into a clinical trial and be able to explain it to our fellow patients, what is it about, what do you have to understand from all these documents. We don’t need to send them a lawyer to explain to them why this document is 20 pages.