Me a guinea pig? Why should I participate in a clinical trial? You will no doubt be happy to know that doctors and scientists are working tirelessly to find new and better ways to treat, prevent and detect prostate cancer, and also to improve the quality of life of those who are affected. of this cancer. For this, they resort to clinical trials.
Medically reviewed by Urologist-Surgeon Dr. Thierry Lebeau on 05/26/2022
What is a clinical trial?
Once a drug or a new treatment has been proposed by a doctor, it was tested theoretically or with laboratory animals; if it turns out to be promising, the researchers then develop a program (also called a protocol) to test its effectiveness in humans.
What are the steps
Typically, clinical trials have three stages. The first step is to determine the drug’s safety or treatment, usually involving a small group of patients. The second stage aims to test the effectiveness of the drug or treatment and normally includes a larger number of patients suffering from a specific disorder. If these results remain promising, the trials then move on to a third stage involving hundreds and even thousands of patients.
During this third step, the researchers want to determine whether the new treatment is more effective than a commonly used treatment, and, for this, they separate the participants into groups. The impartiality of these tests is of great importance. This is why patients do not know to which group they belong and even medical staff often do not. The “experimental group” receives the new treatment, while the “control group” receives the best standard treatment marketed.
Where do they take place?
Clinical trials often take place in different locations and each doctor is required to follow the program or protocol strictly. These trials are carefully designed to minimize risks and maximize benefits. All programs are subject to a review or ethics committee that ensures that planned trials do not pose unreasonable risks to participants.
Am I obliged to accept if it is offered to me?
Participation in a clinical trial is voluntary; it is therefore up to you to decide whether or not to participate. If you accept, you will be informed about all facets of the trial. You will be required to sign a consent form stating that you are knowledgeable and that you understand the purpose of the trial. Even if you initially agreed to take part in a trial, you can always change your mind at any time and abandon the treatment.
Many men like to participate in trials because they want to advance medical science and improve the outcome of patients for future generations. Others participate because they want to benefit from a new treatment or drug before it hits the market. Still, others feel reassured because by taking part in a trial, they are receiving attentive care.
Will my health be at risk?
According to the researchers’ findings, patients who receive treatment in a clinical trial generally do better than non-participating patients. However, this does not mean that the trial treatment is the best. Several other factors may come into play, such as access to new technologies.
Whatever your reasons for participating in a clinical trial, you should be aware of the risks or disadvantages that may be associated with it. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor to make sure you make the right decision.
Questions to ask before participating in a clinical trial
- Why are we doing this clinical trial?
- How long will it be?
- Will I be forced to take time off from work?
- Will I have to go to the hospital or clinic more often?
- Will I need to undergo additional tests?
- Will I have to pay any fees?
- Can there be side effects, if so, what are they?
- Will the treatments affect me emotionally?
- Will I be required to answer several questionnaires or keep a daily diary?
- If there is a problem, will there be someone I can contact at any time?
To learn more about your participation in a clinical trial, talk to your healthcare team. For more information on clinical trials, visit:
- Clinical trials: www.clinicaltrials.gov
- Canadian Cancer Trials: canadiancancertrials.ca
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease, our expert lectures and webinars, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you, our events and ways to get involved in advancing the cause.
You have questions or concerns? Don’t hesitate. You can chat with us or contact us at 1-855-899-2873 to discuss with one of our nurses specialized in uro-oncology. They are there to listen, support and answer your questions, as well as those of your family or loved ones. It’s simple and free, like all of our other services.
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