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How to Find a Cancer Treatment Trial: A 10-Step Guide

  • Updated: 06/08/2010

Step 6: Make a List of Potential Clinical Trials

At this point, you should have completed the Cancer Details Checklist (PDF—91KB), found one or more trials of interest to you, and printed out or saved a summary for each trial.

This section will help you to:

  • take a closer look at the trial summaries
  • narrow your list to include only those trials for which you would like to get more information

Key questions to ask about each trial:

Helpful Tip: Don’t worry if you cannot answer all of the questions below just yet. The idea is to narrow your list of trials, if possible. However, don't give up on trials you're not sure about. You may want to talk with your doctor or another health care team member during this process, especially if you find the trial summaries hard to understand.
  • Trial objective: What is the main purpose of the trial? Is it to cure your cancer? To slow its growth or spread? To lessen the severity of cancer symptoms or the side effects of treatment? To determine whether a new treatment is safe and well tolerated? Read this information carefully to learn whether the trial's main objective matches your goals for treatment.

  • Eligibility criteria: Do the details of your cancer diagnosis and your current overall state of health match the trial’s entry criteria? This may tell you whether or not you can qualify for the trial. If you're not sure, keep the trial on your list for now.

  • Trial location: Is the location of the trial manageable for you? Some trials take place at more than one location. Look carefully at how often you will need to receive treatment during the course of the trial. Decide how far and how often you are willing to travel. You will also need to ask whether the sponsoring organization will pay for some or all of your travel costs.

  • Study length: How long will the trial run? Not all clinical trial summaries provide this information. If they do, consider the time involved and whether it will work for you and your family.

After considering these questions, if you are still interested in one or more of the clinical trials you have found, then you are ready for Step 7.