Fact 1: All clinical trials are voluntary.
If you meet the criteria for a clinical trial, you always have the right to choose whether or not you will participate, and you have the right to leave a clinical trial at any time, for any reason.
The level of care you get should not be affected by your decision. If you decide to leave the study, talk to your doctor first, especially if you are on a treatment regimen. You will want to know how quitting the study might affect your health and what other treatment options you have.
You should also tell the research group that you are quitting and why. Your health care team may ask that you agree to continue to be watched for a certain length of time to look for any long-term effects of treatment.
Fact 2: Not all clinical trials study treatments.
When it comes to health research, it may appear that most research studies are all about treatments, but many clinical trials look at new ways to detect, diagnose, or learn the extent of disease. Some even look at ways to prevent the disease from happening in the first place.
Many of these studies are looking for healthy people to participate. A behavioral study, for instance could be a great way to understand how you can improve your own health while also helping others.
Fact 3: Even among clinical trials that do study treatment, not all of them study drugs.
Many clinical trials test other forms of treatment, such as new surgery or radiation therapy techniques, or even complementary or alternative medicines or techniques.
Fact 4: When clinical trials look at drugs, not all of them study new drugs.
Even after a drug has been approved for use for a specific illness, doctors sometimes find it works better when given a certain way or when combined with other treatments. It may even work on a different illness. Clinical trials are needed to study these possibilities as well.
Fact 5: Very few cancer trials involve a placebo.