Conversations With Your Care Team: How Can I Learn More About Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials?

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Topics include: Treatment and Understanding

Many prostate cancer patients are curious about clinical trials but are unfamiliar with the process. What is the clinical trial process like? How can prostate cancer patients get involved? Prostate cancer expert Brenda Martone, from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, explains the basics of clinical trial participation, including consent and ways patients can qualify for a trial. Watch now to find out more.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power in partnership with Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. We thank Astellas, Clovis Oncology and Pfizer for their support.

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Transcript

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.

Andrew Schorr:                     

Brenda, a question for you about trials. There are times when you and Dr. Hussain talk to your patients about trials, and often, people are hesitant, they're unfamiliar with it, people don't want to be a guinea pig, but yet, Dr. Hussain talks about all this research and the partnership with patients. How do you explain it to them, about trials, Brenda?

Brenda Martone:                      

Trials can be complicated, and these are long discussions and they're important to have. Oftentimes, all clinical trials come with an informed consent document, and this really details everything about the trial, why it's being done, the expectations, and what the expected outcomes could be, as well as the risks and the benefits, so patients are given this, and it can be quite long and quite overwhelming. Initially, the first discussion is basically about their disease, how they would potentially qualify.

All people have to qualify for the trial, certain eligibility criteria, and then letting them know, oftentimes, the trials at our stages in the prostate cancer population, we see patients with more advanced disease, rarely include a placebo, which is always a big concern, that patients don't want to be treated with sugar. If, by chance, the clinical trial does have a placebo, that is always included with an act of treatment, so patients are always getting the standard of care with the addition of maybe an extra medication.

Patients oftentimes will know what they're getting, so it's rare that things are double-blind, and no one knows what they're getting. Patients will know what they're getting, as well as just telling them about the expected side-effects, giving them a chance to think about things, giving them a chance to ask questions. We never have a patient see us in the clinic, hear about the trial, and then sign consent. That is not true consent.

Consent is understanding and having your questions answered, so when we have the initial discussion, we send the patients home with the consent document with everything written down so they can read about it in a quiet environment, discuss with their family members, and then come back for another visit to talk about what their thoughts are, what their impressions are, and if that's something they're interested in doing, the clinical trial.

Andrew Schorr:                     

Okay, just a couple of personal comments, I was treated for leukemia in 2000 with a new combination therapy, and they're studying combination therapies, as well, in prostate cancer phase two trials, so it was not the earliest trial, but not the latest, and the combination I got, which worked for me and gave me a 17-year remission in that leukemia, that was approved 10 years later, so I got it ten years early. There's the chance of getting tomorrow's medicine today.

You have to consider it, there are a lot of good options now, do these options that are being studied make sense to you, and evaluate that with your healthcare team. That's my plug for trials, to at least consider it, not be afraid of it.

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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Page last updated on March 13, 2019