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Participating in a Trial: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
    Posted: 08/30/2001    Reviewed: 04/08/2008
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What Is a Clinical Trial?

Should I Take Part in a Clinical Trial?

How Do I Take Part in a Clinical Trial?

How Is a Clinical Trial Planned and Carried Out?

Anyone considering a clinical trial should feel free to ask any questions or bring up any issues concerning the trial at any time. The following suggestions may give you some ideas as you think about your own questions.

The Study

  1. What is the purpose of the study?
  2. Why do researchers think the approach may be effective?
  3. Who will sponsor the study?
  4. Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  5. How are study results and safety of participants being checked?
  6. How long will the study last?
  7. What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Possible Risks and Benefits

  1. What are my possible short-term benefits?
  2. What are my possible long-term benefits?
  3. What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
  4. What are my possible long-term risks?
  5. What other options do people with my risk of cancer or type of cancer have?
  6. How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?

Participation and Care

  1. What kinds of therapies, procedures and /or tests will I have during the trial?
  2. Will they hurt, and if so, for how long?
  3. How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
  4. Will I be able to take my regular medications while in the clinical trial?
  5. Where will I have my medical care?
  6. Who will be in charge of my care?

Personal Issues

  1. How could being in this study affect my daily life?
  2. Can I talk to other people in the study?

Cost Issues

  1. Will I have to pay for any part of the trial such as tests or the study drug?
  2. If so, what will the charges likely be?
  3. What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  4. Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
  5. Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?

Tips for Asking your Doctor About Trials

When you talk with your doctor or members of the research team:

  1. Consider taking a family member or friend along, for support and for help in asking questions or recording answers.
  2. Plan ahead what to ask--but don't hesitate to ask any new questions you think of while you're there.
  3. Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember to ask them all.
  4. Write down the answers, so that you can review them whenever you want.
  5. Consider bringing a tape recorder to make a taped record of what's said (even if you write down answers).

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