Deciding to take part
You may have many questions when deciding whether to join a clinical trial. As well as talking to your doctor and clinical trials nurse, it is recommended that you talk to your family or carer. This is because your involvement may also affect them. Ultimately, though, it’s your decision to participate in research or not.
You shouldn’t feel pressured to take part in research, and you should not be rushed into making any decisions that may affect your health or treatment. Ask your doctor or nurse how much time you have to think about whether or not to join a study. You should usually be given a few days to consider the participant information. If you would like to take more time to think about your participation, ask if this is likely to affect your treatment outcomes. If you decide not to join a study, you will still receive the standard treatment for your disease.
Learn more about:
- Questions commonly asked about clinical research
- Getting a second opinion
- Video: Why you shouldn’t be afraid of clinical trials
Weighing up the benefits and risks
- Consider what is most important to you. Some people want to be certain of which treatment they will receive, others prefer the opportunity to try something new.
- Think about the possible impacts of the study on your wellbeing and lifestyle. What is the chance of any serious side effects? Will any requirements of the study be too difficult, e.g. having to have additional tests or extra trips to the hospital. Weigh up these risks and drawbacks against the possible benefits, such as a possibly longer survival time or not having to experience certain side effects.
- Everybody’s situation is different – what is right for someone else may not be right for you.
Video: Why you shouldn’t be afraid of clinical trials
Medical Oncologist Dr Elizabeth Hovey explains why patients and their families shouldn’t be afraid of a clinical trial, but rather see it as a potential treatment opportunity.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
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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