Interventional cancer clinical trials may randomly assign patients to a group and provide different types of treatment to each group. Researchers organize the study this way in order to observe any differences between groups. Regardless of which group you get assigned to, you will actively receive a treatment for your condition.
For example, those assigned to what is called the “control” group receive the standard of care, or cancer therapies that are currently approved for their type of cancer. Those assigned to what is called the “experimental” group receive new cancer therapies that are not yet part of the standard of care. All groups are closely watched by the healthcare team running the trial. It is also important to note that not all trials randomly assign patients to groups and this is just one of many ways trials are designed.
Participating in any clinical trial involves both risks and benefits. The team running the trial try their best to control and monitor any harms before they occur. Before joining a clinical trial, it is important to seek out as much information as possible in order to fully understand what your involvement will require and how your condition may be affected. For example, you may have additional office visits, tests, or procedures. Be sure you understand what is involved with a trial as you make your decision.