Should I participate in a clinical trial?
Essentially, taking part in a clinical trial, is entirely your choice. However, if you’re unsure about whether or not you’d like to take part in a clinical trial, we have gathered some information that you might find useful.
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are common in medicine and are the way in which knowledge progresses. There are three (clinical) stages a drug (or other treatments) needs to pass through before it comes available as a standard, accepted treatment. Before a drug can be used as part of a trial, it will have been researched in a laboratory and tested for many years.
Why are clinical trials important?
Clinical trials are a way of testing medicines and treatments to see what does and doesn’t work, the results from a clinical trial also inform future research.
What are the benefits of taking part in a clinical trial?
- You could be given a treatment that is better than the standard treatment.
- This new treatment may not be available for pancreatic cancer yet through the NHS or privately, so may not be available otherwise.
- You are likely to be followed very carefully during the trial to monitor your health, this may be more often than when not on a trial. This can provide you with information on any changes to your health, which can be dealt with as soon as possible.
- It will help doctors find out which treatments may benefit future patients.
What are the downsides of taking part in a clinical trial?
- The treatment may not be beneficial.
- There is always a slight risk the treatment could harm you or that you could experience side effects that are unpleasant or unexpected.
- Being in a trial may mean going to the hospital or clinic more frequently than you usually would. Consider the time, travel costs, and how tiring this could be (you can discuss this beforehand with your medical team to find out how many visits they think will be needed, and whether the trial team will pay for your travel, and how you can claim).
How can I take part in a clinical trial?
If you decide that you would like to take part in a clinical trial, you should speak to your specialist nurse or oncologist. They will be able to let you know about the trials that currently being undertaken in your specialist centre and whether you are eligible to participate.