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Understanding Results from Your Cancer Research Study

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There are two types of study results: your individual results, and the results of everyone who participated in the same study. 

After you’ve taken part in a clinical trial or research study, you might want to know about the results from the study.

Studies are designed to produce results that combine data from everyone in the study, with all personal information stripped away. Study results can include many types of information, such as genetic test results, biopsy results, treatment data, and other medical information collected during research.

Where to find results from cancer research  

Study findings are often published in scientific journal articles, where participants and researchers can learn more about these results. They may also be posted on a website, like a study’s web page or You can also ask your doctor or the study team about the progress of the study and whether there are results yet. And sometimes, though not often, study participants receive an easy-to-understand summary of the results.

Personal results from a study are often not returned directly to participants. One reason is that study results may come from labs that do not have CLIA certification. This certification means the tests performed at these labs measure what they claim to measure. In the United States, only results from CLIA-certified labs may be returned to participants.

What to think about if you receive personal results 

If you have the option to view results specific to you and choose to do so, these results may provide a better understanding of your health, disease, genes, and genetic history. They could also inform your cancer treatment and provide other insights. 

For example, participants in NCI’s CCDI Molecular Characterization Initiative provide blood and tumor samples that are studied in a way that gives the participant and their doctor a precise diagnosis. This information helps to inform the best course of treatment for that person.

Remember that your study and medical teams are great resources. Talk with them if you have concerns about seeing the results or if you have questions about any results you do see.