- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Complementary therapies
- Making treatment decisions
- Taking part in a clinical trial
Taking part in a clinical trial
Funding for clinical trials or research into the effectiveness and safety of complementary therapies is limited. Because of the growing popularity of complementary therapies in Australia, the National Institute of Complementary Medicine was established by the federal government to promote research in this area of health care.
Some universities and hospitals are also involved in research and clinical trials. Your hospital or support group may provide opportunities for you to take part in clinical trials and research involving the use of complementary therapies.
Before deciding whether or not to join a clinical trial, discuss these questions with your doctor and a qualified complementary therapist:
- What treatments are being tested and why?
- What tests are involved?
- Can I take part in the trial while having conventional treatment?
- What are the possible risks or side effects?
- What are the possible benefits?
- How long will the trial last?
- What will I do if problems occur while I am in the trial?
- Has an independent ethics committee approved the trial?
If you join a clinical trial for conventional cancer treatment, it is important to check whether using any complementary therapies could impact on the trial results. Speak to your doctor and/or complementary therapist for information.
If you decide to take part in a clinical trial, you can withdraw at any time. For more information, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or visit australiancancertrials.gov.au.
I was on a clinical trial when I decided to see a naturopath, who suggested I take coconut oil. The doctor on the trial said it shouldn’t have an impact on my other medication.
Alan (multiple myeloma)
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Suzanne Grant, Senior Acupuncturist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice, Monash University, VIC; Mara Lidums, Consumer; Tanya McMillan, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Byeongsang Oh, Acupuncturist, University of Sydney and Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, NSW; Sue Suchy, Consumer; Marie Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Prof Anne Williams, Nursing Research Consultant, Centre for Nursing Research, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Chair, Health Research, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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