If you found out you had a serious medical condition you would, of course, want the best treatment. For many illnesses, that starts with tried and true medicines or surgical approaches, but increasingly, it doesn’t end there.
Other patients, at some point, are the first to try any new medicine or surgical procedure, and odds are, they tried it as part of a “clinical trial.” I did it for leukemia in 2000 and I believe it saved my life. Now in 2011, I am doing it again to see if there is a better way to treat blood clots that suddenly developed in my legs.
First and foremost, we enter a clinical trial with the hope of personally doing better. But we also know the outcome may help many others. Anyone who takes an approved medicine owes a debt of thanks to the patients before them who participated in a clinical trial.
It is not always convenient. Lately, my blood has been checked almost daily. But the attention from the medical team is reassuring. When you are in a trial you are followed closely. You are special. I like that.
Sadly, medical science in the U.S. is often slowed because too few of us enroll in clinical trials. It could be, we hesitate when we hear the treatment is experimental or because our doctor never mentioned it as an option.
But I urge you to ask about trials if you face a serious diagnosis. It could give you the benefit of tomorrow’s medicine today and also help many others. Frankly, it gives you hope for better health and a good feeling that it might bring the same to many more.
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company dedicated to bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, as well as transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team. Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis." http://www.websavvypatient.com/
Edited by Shannon Koehle