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

  • Posted: 03/21/2005
  • Updated: 06/08/2010

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This guide will help you look for a cancer treatment clinical trial. It does not provide medical advice and should not be used in place of advice from your doctor or other members of your health care team. Your health care team and your loved ones, if you wish, can assist you in deciding whether or not a clinical trial is right for you. The decision to take part in a clinical trial is yours alone to make.

This guide will help you to:

  • Gather the information you need to begin your search for a clinical trial.
  • Identify Web sites that have lists of open clinical trials. Open trials are those that are accepting eligible people who wish to participate.
  • Learn about clinical trials for your type and stage of cancer.
  • Ask questions that will help you decide whether or not to take part in a trial.
Helpful Tip: This guide contains links to other Web pages and sites. Links to pages and sites external to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are included for convenience and informational purposes only. Including these links cannot be taken as an endorsement by NCI of the Web pages and sites. See the NCI Web site’s Disclaimer of Endorsement and Liability policy.

A Word About Timing:

Some treatment trials will not accept people who have already been treated for their cancer. The researchers conducting these trials are hoping to find improved cancer treatments for people with newly diagnosed disease.

  • If you have just found out that you have cancer, the time to think about joining a trial is before you have any treatment. Talk with your doctor about how quickly you need to make a treatment decision.

Other treatment trials are looking for people who have already been treated for their cancer.

  • If you have already had one or more forms of cancer treatment and are looking for a new treatment option, there are still clinical trials for you to think about.