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What to ask your doctor about trials

Women discussing trials

This page has questions to ask your doctor about


Finding a trial

  • Are there any trials I could enter with my type and stage of cancer?
  • Do you know of any trials looking at new therapies or treatments?

Trial design

  • Can you tell me why this trial is being done?
  • What are the possible advantages and risks of taking part?
  • What are the treatment choices in the trial?
  • Would I be allocated a treatment by computer or do you and I have any choice?
  • How many patients are being studied?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will I have to do if I take part?
  • Will I have to have extra tests or scans?
  • Will I be told about the results if I take part?

How trials are run

  • Can I bring a relative or friend to the 'informed consent' meeting?
  • Can I tape the meeting or take notes?
  • Who will be allowed to see my medical records?
  • What information about me will be on the computer?
  • Who will be told I am in a trial?
  • What will I have to do if I take part?
  • Will I have to spend more time in hospital or having tests?
  • What about my expenses, such as travelling costs?
  • Am I covered by insurance if things go wrong?

Safety of trials

  • What are the likely side effects?
  • What treatment will I get if I decide not to enter the trial?
  • Can I leave the trial if I want to?
  • What will happen if I get side effects?
  • Who can I contact in an emergency?
  • Who makes sure the trial is safe and properly run?
  • Am I covered by insurance if things go wrong?
  • Is there anything I am not allowed to do while I am in the trial?
  • Are there any drugs or medicines I shouldn't take while I am in the trial?

Hear other peoples reservations and advice


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Updated: 10 October 2013