Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are medical research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of promising approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

When you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you and your doctor should discuss whether or not a clinical trial is a good treatment option for you. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial and your doctor does not discuss this option with you, be sure to ask if opportunities are available.

Why Clinical Trials are Important

Participating in a clinical trial may enable patients to access the newest lung cancer treatments before they are widely available. Patients in clinical trials also receive high-quality care, while helping researchers improve care for many current and future cancer patients.

Clinical trials that test cancer treatments might involve the use of drugs, radiation therapy, surgery or other treatment methods. Treatments are only brought to clinical trials after significant prior research shows they have promise. These trials are carefully conducted by doctors and trained teams to ensure that patients receive the best possible treatment and care.

Clinical trials are a critical step in the process of getting new treatment options approved for care. By participating in a clinical trial, you’ll be helping researchers and doctors make lifesaving treatments available to more people like you. To talk with someone who has been through a clinical trial, call the Cancer Hope Network at (800) 552-4366 or fill out this form to get matched with a lung cancer survivor.

Potential Benefits of Clinical Trials

  • Many patients find that clinical trials offer them excellent treatment options and care. Patients report they get more attention and more frequent check-ups during their clinical trial experience. All patients participating in cancer clinical trials receive the best cancer treatment currently known for their type and stage of cancer.
  • Patients participating in cancer clinical trials may have the opportunity to receive cutting-edge cancer treatments that have shown promise in early research.
  • Many newer treatments are only available through clinical trials.
  • By taking an active role in their care, clinical trial participants often feel empowered.
  • When you participate in a clinical trial, you’re investing in the future of cancer therapy for those who are diagnosed after you.

How Clinical Trials Work

Cancer clinical trials can have more than one group of patients to help doctors evaluate the efficacy of different treatments. However, all patients in cancer clinical trials receive treatment — regardless of whether they are in the control or placebo group.

Even if they are in a “placebo” group, patients rarely receive placebos (sugar pills) in clinical trials. Instead, those in the control group receive the standard of care (i.e., cancer therapies that are currently approved for their type of cancer) and are closely watched by the doctors and nurses running the trial.

Because clinical trials are testing new therapies, there are risks to participating. Any patient considering participating in a clinical trial should seek out as much information as possible in order to fully understand the treatments being tested and how they may affect him or her.

Important Issues to Keep in Mind

  • Your clinical trial options will be based on your particular type and stage of lung cancer and your overall health. To determine which clinical trials are appropriate for you, talk to your doctor.
  • All clinical trial participants are volunteers who can stop at any time they choose, for any reason, and return to the standard treatment.
  • As with any cancer treatment option, there are potential risks and benefits to clinical trials. Be sure to discuss these with your doctor or the clinical trial coordinator as you make decisions.
  • Many safeguards are put into place to protect patients involved in trials. All clinical trials are reviewed and followed by outside experts to make sure the patients’ health and well-being are looked after.
  • If you volunteer for a clinical trial, you may have additional office visits, tests, or procedures. Be sure you understand what is involved with a trial as you make your decision.
  • Your insurance and/or the trial itself will usually pay for your care in a clinical trial. Your doctor’s office should be able to help you contact your insurance company before you start a clinical trial, and deal with any insurance issues.

How to Find the Right One

If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, speak with your doctor about whether it could be right for you.

You can also find more information through these resources: