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Randomization is a process used in some clinical trials to prevent bias. Bias occurs when a trial's results are affected by human choices or other factors not related to the treatments being tested.

​"Randomization" means that patients are put into a treatment group by chance. By assigning someone to a group randomly, the results of the clinical trial come from the drug or treatment, and not differences between the groups.

  • If you are assigned to the control group, you will get the most widely accepted treatment (standard treatment) for your cancer.
  • If you are assigned to the investigational group, you will get the new treatment being tested.

Comparing these groups to each other often clearly shows which treatment is more effective or has fewer side effects. If you are thinking about joining a randomized clinical trial, you need to understand that there is a chance you will be assigned to either group. Neither you nor the doctor chooses the group you will be in.

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​​​ Will I get a placebo?

A placebo is designed to look like the medicine being tested, but it is not active. Placebos are almost never used in cancer treatment trials. In some cases, a study may compare standard treatment plus a new treatment to standard treatment plus a placebo. You will be told if the study uses a placebo.

Adapted from National Cancer Institute ​


Last reviewed: 5/4/2022
Last modified: 9/26/2023 12:11 PM
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