If you recently received the devastating news that you have cancer, your doctor will immediately begin talking to you about treatment options. Cancer is a very common, yet deadly, disease. It affects millions of people and is the second-leading cause of death today for people living in the U.S. Once cancer forms in your body, it can spread and begin affecting other body parts, which is why you will need to receive treatment as soon as you can. Your oncologist will look for the best forms of treatment; however, there is also a chance he or she might discuss clinical trials with you. Here are several things to know about clinic trials in the medical field.
What Are Clinical Trials?
For researchers and doctors to find new forms of treatment for cancer, they often run programs called clinical trials. A clinical trial is designed to test a new type of treatment plan for a specific problem. There are typically a variety of different clinical trials running at all times, but your doctor will need to help you find one that is targeted towards the exact type of cancer you have.
The purpose of a clinical trial is to find out if a new theory, medication, or treatment plan has positive effects on cancerous cells, and the only way to find this out is to try it out on people with cancer.
When Is A Clinical Trial A Good Option?
Clinical trials are not ideal for everyone that is diagnosed with cancer, but they are a good option in some situations. Choosing to go through a clinical trial may not be the best choice if your cancer is discovered at an early stage and is limited to just one part of your body. On the other hand, choosing to go through a clinical trial is a great option if the cancer is located in multiple body parts and was not discovered at an early stage.
If your oncologist does not have a positive prognosis for your cancer through the methods that are currently available for treating the form of cancer you have, choosing to take part in a clinical trial might be the only option you have that might offer good results. The methods used to treat cancer in clinical trials are brand new. They may have been tried on rats and other small animals, but they have not yet been tested on people.
What Are The Pros And Cons?
Before you rush into a clinical trial, it's important to fully understand the pros and cons. There are a variety of different positive effects these can have, yet there are also risks involved. One of the key benefits is that the new treatment plan offered might actually stop the cancer from spreading, and this may give you more years to live. A second benefit is that it offers insight to doctors and researchers to help them learn more about the disease and ways to treat it. Your involvement could actually help save lives in the future.
One of the downsides to clinical studies is that there is no guarantee that the method will work. In fact, the method may have the opposite effects of what the researchers initially thought. In addition, you may find out that there are no clinical trials in your area for the type of cancer you have. This means you may have to travel in order to receive the treatment offered through the program.
If you are currently struggling with cancer and are not sure which treatment options to choose, you may want to visit several oncology centers in your area to get several different opinions on your case.