Clinical trials and research
Cancer research is an important part of cancer care. Over the years, health research has led to better treatments and outcomes for people diagnosed with cancer.
A clinical trial is one type of clinical research. It helps show whether a new approach to prevention, screening, diagnosis or treatment works better than current methods and is safe. Volunteers are recruited to test the new intervention (for example, a drug, medical device, surgical method or test) to see whether it works and whether any side effects occur. If the new approach is shown to work better than existing tests or treatments, it may be approved for use.
This information has been prepared to help you make an informed decision about taking part in cancer research, particularly clinical trials. We explain what clinical trials involve, the regulations that are in place to ensure that it is conducted professionally, the practical issues to consider when deciding whether to take part, and what happens once you’ve decided to participate.
Learn more about:
- What is health research
- Types of health research
- Types of clinical research
- Regulating research
- Clinical trials explained
- Deciding to take part
- Joining a study
- Seeking support
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Questions for your doctor
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
This edition has been developed by Cancer Council NSW on behalf of all other state and territory Cancer Councils as part of a National Cancer Information Working Group initiative. We thank the reviewers of this booklet: A/Prof Andrew Redfern, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Clinical Academic Oncologist, The University of Western Australia, and Lead Clinician, State Breast Cancer Collaborative, WA; Christie Allan, Program Coordinator – Clinical Trials, Cancer Council Victoria; Bronwyn Chalmers, Clinical Trial Coordinator, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, NSW; Sarah Coulson, Coordinator, Oncology Clinical Trials, Projects and Research, Tasmanian Health Service, TAS; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Annette Cubitt, Clinical Trials Manager, Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Pete Currie, Consumer; Amy Ives, Clinical Trials Coordinator, Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Care Services, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Sabina Jelinek, Clinical Research Nurse, Murdoch Oncology Clinical Trials Unit, WA; Dr Visalini Nair-Shalliker, Research Fellow – Prostate, Cancer Council NSW; Karlie Neilson, Project Officer – Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Prof Mark Rosenthal, Medical Oncologist, and Director, Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, VIC; Joan Torony, CEO, TROG Cancer Research, NSW; Rebecca Weselman, Senior Clinical Trials Coordinator, Oncology Clinical Trials, St John of God Murdoch Hospital, WA; John Williams, Research Governance Officer, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.