Personal insight - Andrew (75)
Andrew, 75, is taking part in an international trial of a new drug to reduce bone problems from prostate cancer.
This is a double blinded trial, so neither Andrew nor his doctors know whether his monthly injections contain an active drug or placebo (dummy drug).
"When I was asked to enter this trial, I couldn't see how I could lose out," Andrew said. "If I'm having the placebo, at the very least I'm seeing the oncologist every four months. More importantly, I'm getting a bone scan every four months. Bone scans cost hundreds of dollars but are free in the trial.
"If I wasn't in the trial, I wouldn't have a bone scan every four months. But being in the trial means that if something does begin to go wrong, it will be picked up on the bone scan fairly quickly. If I have to have further treatment, it could be initiated fairly quickly, so that could conceivably be to my benefit."
Personal insight - Margery (79)
In May 2004, Margery, 79, agreed to enrol in one of the many trials that Cancer Trials NSW supports.
The trial looks at an antidepressant's effect on symptoms, survival time and general wellbeing for patients with advanced cancer. While the main aim of this trial is to help people feel better, the investigators are also interested in whether helping people cope better with their illness or treatment might also help them live longer.
Margery said: "When I was asked to take part in the clinical trial it also seemed a good way to partly repay the medical profession for the excellent treatment I have always been given and in a small way to help other cancer sufferers.
"Then, when I joined the trial I suddenly found I had very ready access to a whole new group of people (ie, the nursing staff involved in the study).
"The practical help I am receiving and the feeling of being cared for by such a dedicated group of professionals has been of huge benefit to me personally. I have no hesitation in recommending others to take part in a clinical trial if they are able."
Personal Insight - Rosemary (59)
Rosemary, aged 59, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. After having surgery aimed at curing her cancer, she was advised to have additional (adjuvant) treatment. She was offered this additional treatment as part of a randomised trial aimed at improving cure rates. Rosemary agreed, and is one of about 600 women from Australia, and more than 2,700 worldwide, taking part in this trial.
"I was really happy to be involved in the trial. Many women had been on trials before me and I had the advantage of those previous trials," Rosemary said. "My first reaction was: "˜If I can do something to help other women along the line, I would like to do that.'
"I realise I had a lot of personal benefit from being in the trial because I was very well taken care of. I had a lot of personalised care and I felt that I was receiving better care because I was on the trial.
"With the randomness, there was equal opportunity I would have the new drug that they were testing or the current treatment. It didn't worry me what treatment I was on. Even if I didn't have the new drug, I realised that I was better off.
"I would definitely be involved in a clinical trial again. I have worked in market research so I know if we are going to go forward, we have to do the research. I'm 59, I've had a good life, and I want to give something back."