What are clinical trials?
- Risks and causes – how genetics, lifestyle and other factors can increase people's risk of cancer
- Preventing cancer – using drugs or lifestyle changes to reduce risk
- Screening – tests for people with higher than average risk of cancer or for the general population
- Diagnosing cancer – new tests, scans or procedures
- Treatments – new drugs or combinations of drugs. Trials also look at new doses of drugs or new ways of giving treatment and new types of treatment
- Controlling symptoms or side effects – new drugs or complementary therapies
- Support and information - for people with cancer and their carers, families or friends
Read the full video transcript.
The aim of clinical trials
Trials aim to find out if a new treatment or procedure:
- is safe
- has side effects
- works better than the currently used treatment
quality of life
What trials tell us
Some trials will show that a new treatment works better than an existing treatment. Others will tell us more about the side effects, or what happens to the drug in the body.
- the treatment being tested does not work or
- that it has side effects that are worse than with existing treatments.
This information is also useful for researchers and doctors, and in the end for patients. It all adds to our knowledge of cancer and how best to treat it.
Oxford Handbook of Clinical and Healthcare Research (1st edition)
R Sumantra, S Fitzpatrick, R Golubic and others
Oxford University Press, 2016