The pros and cons of taking part in a clinical trial

This page tells you about the possible advantages (pros) and drawbacks (cons) of being in a trial.
 

The pros

The advantages of taking part in a trial include that:
  • you may have a treatment which is only available as part of a trial
  • the new treatment may work better than the standard treatment (no one knows this for sure, which is why the trial is being done)
  • you could help to improve cancer treatment for patients in the future
  • you may have more blood tests, scans or other cancer tests
  • you may have check ups more often and for longer than usual
Many people find it reassuring to have extra tests and appointments, but not everyone does. Only you know how you feel about this. The research team will explain all the tests and appointments you’ll have, before you decide whether to enter the trial.
 

The cons

As with any treatment, you may have unexpected or serious side effects. The research team will tell you what they know about the treatment so far, and what they think the side effects will be. But there is some risk that an experimental treatment could harm you.
But remember that even in phase 1 or 2 trials, treatments have been carefully researched in the laboratory before they are given to people. And with phase 3 trials, the doctors know more about the new treatment, so there is less risk of having a harmful side effect.
 
Other drawbacks include that:
  • you will probably have to do some extra paperwork
  • you may have more blood tests, scans or other cancer tests
  • you may have check ups more often and for longer than usual
  • the extra appointments may cost you time and money (for bus fares or carparking for example)
Some people find the extra tests and appointments make them more nervous and mean they think about having cancer too often. But some people find it reassuring. Everyone is different. The research team will explain all the tests and appointments you’ll have, before you decide whether to enter the trial.

Experiences of taking part in a clinical trial

 

Related information

 
 
 

Last reviewed

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

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