Finding the Right Clinical Trial after a Cancer Diagnosis

Jun 28 • 2016

Once you’ve received a cancer diagnosis, you’ll be looking at all treatment options to find what is the best cancer treatment for you. One option to consider is participating in a clinical trial. Depending on your specific situation, this can be a difficult choice to make. Some patients choose this route simply because it’s the best option they have available, while others make this decision because they know it could benefit other cancer patients in the future. If you choose to participate in a clinical trial, the next step is finding the best medical trial for your condition.

Learning About Clinical Trials

There are a variety of ways you can find out about clinical trials available in your area. Your doctor can recommend some for you to consider, or you can begin researching on your own. The first step when researching is finding a clinical trial list. These lists contain:

  • Available studies
  • Descriptions of each study
  • Criteria to participate
  • Contact information

These lists are extremely comprehensive and can be difficult to comb through, but you may be able to find an organization that can help you narrow down the list based on the specific kind of treatment you’re looking for and what stage of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with. Ask your doctor for recommendations or assistance with this if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

You can also look for organizations that provide a clinical trial matching service. While kept confidential, you’ll have to provide information about the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with, what stage it is in, and other treatments you’ve had in the past. The online service will then match your needs up with a clinical trial that you may be eligible for. This is a great way to go because it doesn’t force you to manually read through the different trials to find which ones might work for you. You may also be able to subscribe in order to get updates on when new trials become available.

After You Find Your Clinical Trial

Once you find a trial that you think you qualify for and are interested in, reach out to the contact person to find out more information. He or she can confirm whether or not you are eligible and answer any additional questions you might have. Additionally, speak with your doctor to get a second opinion. If you’re feeling hesitant, see if you can find out more information online. Don’t be scared to talk to friends and family about the trial, as well as its risks and benefits.

Remember that the final decision is up to you. Educate yourself as much as possible and when you feel ready, choose whatever cancer treatment option you feel is best for your situation.