Why Should You
Participate in a Clinical Trial?
People decide to be part of a cancer prevention clinical trial for many reasons. For example:
Some people who have higher cancer risk participate in a cancer prevention trial because they want
to take a more active role in their health care. Also, because study participants get regular and
careful medical attention, some health problems may be found early.
Some people feel good about contributing to medical knowledge. If the study agent turns out to be
effective against cancer, it may help others. For example, prevention trials showed that aspirin
helps prevent heart attacks, and now many people take aspirin daily on their doctor's advice.
You need to weigh the possible benefits and possible risks for yourself. The list in the next
section may help you do that. You also may find it useful to talk with family members or friends,
your health care providers, and anyone you know who has been in a clinical trial.
Prevention Clinical Trials: Weighing the Pros and Cons
- If the approach being studied is found to be helpful, you may be among the first to benefit.
- In a cancer prevention clinical trial, your health is carefully monitored.
- A cancer prevention clinical trial gives you a chance to help scientists learn more about cancer prevention and help others.
- New approaches may have side effects or risks unknown to the doctors.
- The side effects, and results, of a new approach may be worse than what's currently recommended.
- Even if a new approach has benefits, it may not work for you.
- Health insurance and managed care providers don't always cover all costs in a clinical trial.
(To find out what costs are likely to be covered for you, talk to a member of the research team or a
social worker.) For more information about insurance coverage, see the
Insurance Coverage Resource Guide section of this site.
Questions To Ask about Prevention Trials
Finding answers, and making choices, may be hard for people who are at risk for cancer--and for
those who care about them. It's important for you to discuss your concerns and your choices with your
doctor and with the staff of any clinical study that you're thinking of joining.
Ask questions about any issues that concern you. You need to understand your choices.