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If You Have Cancer and Have Medicare... You Should Know About Clinical Trials

  • Posted: 07/31/2003
  • Updated: 10/01/2009

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What are cancer treatment clinical trials?

What kind of information will I get if I want to take part in a clinical trial?

Medicare covers some costs of clinical trials. If you have cancer, you may have more choices for your treatment.

Cancer treatment clinical trials are research studies to find better ways to treat cancer. Clinical trials often compare the most accepted cancer treatment (standard treatment) with a new treatment that doctors hope will be better. What doctors learn in these trials will help people with cancer-now and in the future.

It is important that men and women of all ages and backgrounds take part in clinical trials. Each trial has rules about who can and cannot participate. Think about asking your doctor if you can take part in a clinical trial.

What kind of information will I get if I want to take part in a clinical trial?

Before you join a clinical trial, a doctor, nurse, or another person on the research team will explain why the trial is being done and what will happen during the clinical trial. You will be given a consent form to read.

The consent form will explain:

  • The exact plan for each step in the clinical trial
  • What side effects you may have      
  • How the trial may affect your daily life

You should ask questions about any part of the clinical trial or consent form you do not understand. If you decide to take part in the trial, you will be asked to sign the consent form. Even if you sign the consent form, you can still change your mind and stop participating at any time.