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Cancer Center

Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials FAQs

You can join a research study designed to find out whether promising new approaches to cancer are safe and effective. Many of today’s most widely used cancer treatments were developed through clinical trials.

Typically, patients are randomly assigned to different groups. One group usually receives the current ‘standard of care,' while the other group receives that therapy plus an additional medication. The goal of the trial is to learn which treatment works best.

According to a survey published by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, patient experiences were positive:

• 97% felt they were fully informed on risks and benefits

• 96% felt they were treated with dignity and respect

• 92% had a positive experience

• 91% would recommend a trial to others

If you choose to join a clinical trial, you’ll either receive the best existing treatment, or a new and possibly more effective therapy. Placebos (sugar pills) are never used in place of treatment when a standard therapy exists.

For more information, read the National Cancer Institute's booklet: "Taking Part in Cancer Research Treatment Studies"

  • You’ll have access to currently unavailable new approaches that may be more effective than the standard approach
  • You’ll receive regular and careful medical attention from the research team
  • The results of your study may help others in the future
  • New treatments are not always better than the standard care, and may have side effects or unexpected risks
  • You will not be able to choose your treatment
  • Health insurance may not cover all the costs in your study
  • You may be required to visit your doctor more frequently

You can find a clinical trial for every stage of cancer. It can be a good way to start treatment, and learn about other approaches.

If you want to explore our clinical trials, please email our Clinical Research Nurse or call 978-788-7084.

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