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After the trial

Women discussing trials

This page discusses what happens when you finish being in a trial.

Trials go on for several years after you have stopped having treatment. The researchers need to know what happens to you so that they can monitor the long term effects of the treatment you had in the trial. Some trials test treatments to help stop cancer from coming back. In these trials, it could be 5 years or more before it will be clear to the researchers whether the new treatment is better than the standard treatment. Even if a new treatment seems to be better at stopping a cancer over a few years, the researchers need to make sure that this effect lasts long term. So they will still need to follow the progress of everyone who took part over a longer period.

Your doctor will send reports of your check ups to the trial centre. This is unlikely to make any difference to you. But you should understand that the results of your trial could take years to come out.

It can take several years to recruit people for a trial. Particularly if it is a large phase 3 trial. Trials often look at differences between treatment groups 5 years after patients have been treated. So, it could be at least 5 years after the last patient finishes treatment before the the research team can analyse the results.

Some trials produce an early report, called an interim analysis, before the full results are ready. Others may produce an update to the original results after 10 years or even longer.

You can ask your doctor or research nurse to keep you informed about the results of your trial.

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Updated: 10 October 2013