Clinical trials are an important consideration in your lung cancer treatment path, but finding the right one can be overwhelming. Thanks to our Clinical Trial Matching Service partners, Antidote, we busted some of the five most common myths about clinical trials.
Myth #1: I can’t take part in a clinical trial because I am too sick, too healthy, too old, too young, too recently diagnosed, etc.
Truth: Research studies need a variety of participants to enroll. Some trials are looking for volunteers who have been recently diagnosed, while others need those who have been living with a condition for years. Different studies may also require patients with different treatment experiences and history. There are many studies currently enrolling, so there is likely one that is a match for you.
Myth #2: Volunteering for a research study will disrupt my life.
Truth: In thinking about whether or not you’d like to take part in a particular clinical trial, consider how much time you are willing to devote to participation, and weigh that against how many site visits will be required, how long the trial will run, etc. Every trial is different — some require just a few site visits, while others require overnight stays. During the informed consent <LINK back to FAQ website> process, ask about how much time it will take to volunteer for this trial, and ask if there are any ways in which the researchers can help make the trial fit your schedule. For example, some trials allow you to share information through your smartphones, and others offer transportation to and from the study site.
Myth #3: Clinical trials are too risky.
Truth: The goal of any clinical trial is to evaluate whether a potential new therapy works safely and effectively in patients. Because it is not yet approved by the FDA, there is a risk that the therapy won’t work as expected or that there will be side effects. As you consider a clinical trial, it’s important to ask about the phase of the clinical trial. This will give you a sense of how extensively the drug has been studied to-date. Think about what phase is right for you:
- Phase I trials are designed to test a drug’s safety. These trials are typically small, with just 20 to 100 volunteers.
- Phase II trials measure both the safety and effectiveness of a drug and generally involve a few hundred participants.
- Phase III trials evaluate safety and efficacy in a much larger group — from several hundred to several thousand patients. They are the last stage for a therapy to pass before it can be approved by the FDA.
Myth #4: Clinical trials are a last resort.
Truth: Clinical trials are an option at any stage in your lung cancer journey. If you are ever not satisfied with your current treatment options, taking part in a clinical trial may be a way to access a new therapy that could work better.
Myth #5: Clinical trial participation is scary and unpleasant.
Truth: Many clinical trial volunteers report a positive experience. In fact, in a 2017 study from CISCRP, 91% of clinical trial participants surveyed said they would “definitely” or “probably” recommend clinical trial participation to a friend or family member. It’s important that you know what to expect before you join a clinical trial; this can help ease any anxiety you may feel about taking part. To this end, before you enroll, ask questions to get an idea of what will be required in the clinical trial. If you know that certain medical procedures make you uncomfortable, during the informed consent process, make sure you ask specifically if those or other procedures will be part of the clinical trial.
Understanding the protections in place for clinical trial volunteers may also ease your mind:
- An Institutional Review Board (IRB) checks every trial protocol to make sure it’s ethical and that volunteers’ rights are protected.
- Before trials start, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews applications for new therapies and confirms that studies have protections in place for participants.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please visit LungMATCH.org.