What to ask your doctor about clinical trials

This page has questions to ask your doctor about clinical trials. You may want to take these with you when you see your doctor. Find questions about

Finding a trial

  • Are there any trials I could enter that are for my type and stage of cancer?
  • Do you know of any trials looking at new therapies or treatments?
  • Is there anywhere else I can look for information about trials?

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 different treatment groups in the trial?
  • Would I be allocated a treatment by computer or do you and I have any choice?
  • How long will I have treatment for?
  • How many patients will take part in the trial?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • What will I have to do if I take part?
  • Will I have to have extra tests or scans?
  • Will I have to spend more time in hospital or having tests?
  • How long and how often will I have follow up appointments for after I finish treatment?
  • How will I find out about the results if I take part?
  • What treatment will I get if I decide not to enter the trial?

How trials are run

  • Can I bring a relative or friend to the appointment where I decide whether to take part or not?
  • 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?
  • Can I claim expenses, such as travelling costs?
  • Who makes sure the trial is going as planned?
  • Am I covered by insurance if things go wrong?

Safety of trials

  • What are the likely side effects?
  • 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?

Watch experiences of clinical trial video

Experiences of a clinical trial: reservations and advice


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Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

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