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How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide
    Posted: 03/21/2005


Before You Start:
Steps 1-3

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Searching for a Trial:
Steps 4-6

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

After Finding a Trial:
Steps 7-10

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 10

Diagnosis Checklist

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Searching for a Trial: Step 6

Make a List of Potential Trials

At this point you have created a Diagnosis Checklist, identified one or more trials you might be interested in, and obtained a protocol summary for each one.

This section will help you

  • take a closer look at the protocol summaries
  • narrow your list to those trials you would like to get more information about

Now it's time to take a closer look at the protocol summaries you have obtained for the trials you're interested in. You should remove from your list those trials you aren't actually able to join and come up with one or more top possibilities.

What follows are some key questions to consider about each trial. However, don't worry if you cannot answer all of these questions just yet. The idea is to narrow the list if you can, but don't give up on one that you're not sure of.

Note: Ideally, you should consult your doctor during this process, especially if you find the protocol summaries difficult to understand. But you can probably do Step 6 yourself if the protocol summary is relatively complete and easy to understand.
  • Trial objective. What is the main purpose of the trial? Is it to improve your chances of a cure? To slow the rate at which your cancer may grow or return? To lessen the severity of treatment side effects? To establish whether a new treatment is safe and well tolerated? Read this information carefully to learn whether the trial's main objective matches your goals for treatment.

  • Eligibility criteria. Do your diagnosis and current overall state of health match the eligibility criteria (sometimes referred to as enrollment or entry criteria)? This may tell you whether you could qualify for the trial. If you're not sure, keep the trial on your list for now.

  • Trial location. Is the location of the clinical trial manageable for you? Some trials are available at more than one site. Look carefully at how often you will need to receive treatment during the course of the trial, and decide how far and how often you are willing to travel. You will also need to ask if the sponsoring organization will provide for some or all of your travel expenses.

  • Study duration. How long will the study run? Not all protocol summaries list this information. If they do, consider the time commitment and whether it will work for you and your family.

If, after considering these questions, you are still interested in one or more of the clinical trials you have found, then you are ready for Step 7.

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