- Cancer Information
- Cancer treatment
- Clinical trials and research
- Joining a study
- Who can join a study?
Who can join a study?
Before a trial begins, researchers develop the protocol. This detailed plan describes the study’s design, reasons for the study and who can join (the eligibility criteria).
All clinical trials have guidelines for who can participate. These are called the eligibility criteria and they outline the characteristics that must be shared by all participants to ensure that the people taking part are as similar as possible.
Eligibility criteria can be broken down into:
- inclusion criteria – the characteristics a person needs to have to join a study
- exclusion criteria – the factors that stop someone from participating.
The eligibility criteria also make sure people are safe while on a trial by taking into account any characteristics that might make your participation more risky. For example, you may be excluded from a trial if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or have some other condition that significantly increases the risks of the treatment.
Depending on the research, eligibility criteria may include:
- age or sex
- cancer type
- stage of the cancer
- symptoms or side effects experienced
- length of time since diagnosis or treatment
- previous treatments for the cancer
- previous medical conditions.
|Although there are thousands of different clinical trials occurring around the world at any one time, eligibility requirements can be very specific, and there may not be a trial suitable for your particular situation. For example, if you have metastatic cancer, the disease may have to be active or progressing for you to be eligible to join a trial.|
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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.
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