Questions about clinical trials and research

Below are some questions about clinical trials and research you may want to ask your doctor to see if joining a clinical trial is right for your situation. Asking your doctor or the clinical trials team questions will help you make an informed choice.

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Practical issues

  • What are my chances of benefiting from this research?
  • What are the risks to me?
  • Will I experience any side effects? How will they be treated?
  • Are there any extra tests involved?
  • Do I need to stay overnight in hospital?
  • Will I need to take time off work? Will my day-to-day life be affected?
  • Can I receive any reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Can I still participate if I need to travel interstate or overseas?
  • Can I be involved in more than one study at the same time?
  • How much time do I have to think about whether or not to join this trial?

Other treatments

  • Who will oversee my cancer care while I’m participating?
  • If I join this study, will I miss out on other treatment opportunities later?
  • Can I still take other medicines or complementary therapies while I’m involved in the trial?
  • Who will look after my treatment if I leave the trial early?

  — Alan, diagnosed with multiple myeloma


Study background

  • What is being tested in the trial or study and why?
  • Is this the first time the intervention has been tested? If not, what were the results of the previous studies?
  • How many other people will be involved in this research?
  • How long does the research last? For how long do I need to be involved?
  • If I take time to decide, will delaying the treatment affect how well it works?
  • Will the trial use a placebo?
  • If it is a random control trial, will I have the option to switch treatment arms if the cancer advances or I have bad side effects?

Legal and ethical questions

  • Has the study been approved by an ethics committee?
  • Can you go through the participant information with me?
  • Can I have the participant information in a different language?
  • Who will cover the treatment costs for any side effects or complications?
  • How will my identity be protected while I’m participating, and who will have access to my information?
  • What will happen with the results of the research?
  • Who can I contact if I have a problem?

After the trial

  • How will I receive feedback on the trial results?
  • Will I have follow-up care through the clinical trials team?
  • If I respond to the experimental treatment, will I still be able to get it after the trial is over?

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    Questions for your doctor

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This information was last reviewed in July 2018
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