What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are designed to answer specific questions and find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illness. Cancer clinical trials often compare the most accepted cancer treatment with a new type of treatment. The hope is that the new treatment will be better.
What doctors learn from these trials may help people with cancer in the future.
Talk with your doctor or call the Salem Health clinical research department (503-814-1461) to see if clinical trials are an option for you.
Why should I participate?
Being part of a clinical trial is to your advantage because:
- Investigated treatments may turn out to have better results than the standard treatment.
- A nurse trained in clinical research monitors each patient. This means you’ll get plenty of personal attention.
- Depending on the study, medication may be provided by the sponsor of the trial.
- Participation gives you the added satisfaction of knowing you’re helping future patients.
- You’ll get the latest experimental treatments close to home while remaining in the care of your regular cancer specialist.
What are the risks of participation?
If you choose to take part in a clinical trial, please be aware of the following risks.
- Lose time at work or home due to spending more time in the hospital or doctor’s office than usual.
- You may need to provide sensitive or private information that is not normally provided.
- The study doctors do not know who will or will not have side effects.
- Some side effects may go away soon, last a long time, or never go away.
- Some side effects may interfere with your ability to have children.
How do I know whether I can participate?
Each study has its own guidelines about who can participate.
Generally, participants in a study have things in common. These commonalities could include the type of cancer, age, gender, and previous treatments. To find out if you are eligible for a study, talk with your doctor or call the Salem Health clinical research department at 503-814-1461.
Is the care free?
No. Patients receive bills the same as if they are not participating in a study. In some cases:
- Participating in a study can lead to higher costs. Potential patients should discuss cost with their insurance company.
- The study sponsor may provide the study medication free of charge. Potential patients must sign an informed consent document before participation. This document thoroughly describes what is paid for by the study.
Are all the studies treatment studies?
No. There are a variety of types of studies, including prevention, tissue analysis and quality-of-life.
Are all patients on chemotherapy studies treated in the hospital?
No. Most patients receive their treatment in the outpatient setting.
Can I drop out of the clinical trial?
Yes. Patients have the right to stop their participation in a study at any time, for any reason. Patients considering dropping out should discuss it with their doctor before deciding. Written notification may be a requirement if you no longer want to participate. It is important to know that there are no penalties for withdrawing from a study. Your regular cancer care will continue. You will not be able to continue taking any study provided medications if you drop out.
In some cases, the principal investigator may end your participation in this study, whether you agree or not. Examples of this include, but are not limited to the following:
- The principal investigator believes it is in your medical best interest.
- New information becomes available about how to better treat your condition.
- New information about the study treatment suggests it may be ineffective or unsafe for you.
- It is unlikely, but the sponsor may end the study early.
What cancer clinical trials will Medicare pay for?
Medicare will pay for most cancer treatment clinical trials that are part of:
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Cooperative Group Studies
- Federal Government Funded Studies
If you are in Medicare Advantage (Medicare managed care plan), you must revert to a regular Medicare plan. This is a requirement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. You should contact someone at your plan before starting a clinical trial. They can provide information about any additional costs of participating in clinical trials.
Are clinical trials monitored?
Federal standards regulate clinical trials. For your safety, we conduct clinical trials under strict ethical and professional guidelines. In addition, physicians, scientists and community members monitor all studies. This helps ensure the least possible risk to volunteers.