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​Whenever you need treatment for your cancer, clinical trials may be an option for you. Choosing to join a clinical trial is something only you, those close to you, and your doctors and nurses can decide together. This section has information you can use when thinking about your treatment choices and making your decision.

Note: Only a doctor can refer and enrol you in a clinical trial. Find information on how to arrange a referral »

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​​​ Weighing the Pros and Cons

As with any treatment option, a clinical trial has possible benefits as well as drawbacks. You may want to discuss the following issues with your doctor and the people close to you.

Possible Benefits

  • If a new treatment is proven to work and you are receiving it, you may be among the first to benefit.
  • Clinical trials offer high-quality cancer care. If you are in a randomized study and do not receive the new treatment being tested, you will receive the best known standard treatment. This may be as good as, or better than, the new approach.
  • By looking at all your treatment choices, including clinical trials, you are taking an active role in a decision that affects your life.
  • You have a chance to help others and improve cancer treatment.

Possible Drawbacks

  • New treatments under study are not always better than, or even as good as, standard care.
  • If you receive standard care instead of the new treatment being tested, it may not be as effective as the new approach.
  • New treatments may have side effects that doctors do not expect or that are worse than those of standard treatment.
  • Even if a new treatment has benefits, it may not work for you. Even standard treatments, proven effective for many people, do not help everyone.
  • Health insurance and managed care providers may not cover all of your costs. What they cover varies by plan and by study. To find out in advance what costs are likely to be covered, check with your healthcare team.

Adapted from National Cancer Institute


Last reviewed: 6/8/2021
Last modified: 11/1/2023 6:11 AM
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