Taking Part in Cancer Research
Cancer research has led to real progress in oral cancer detection and treatment. Because of research, people with oral cancer can look forward to a better quality of life. Continuing research offers hope that, in the future, even more people with this disease will be treated successfully.
Doctors all over the world are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Clinical trials are designed to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.
Doctors are testing chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and combinations of drugs for oral cancer. They are studying radiation therapy combined with drugs and other treatments. Doctors are also testing drugs that prevent or reduce the side effects of radiation therapy.
Even if the people in a trial do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about oral cancer and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients.
If you're interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor. You may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. It describes how treatment studies are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.
The NCI Web site includes a section on clinical trials at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials. It has general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of oral cancer. The NCI Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) and at LiveHelp can answer questions and provide information about clinical trials.