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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How is the referring physician/health care professional kept informed of patient care and progress?

A. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the referring physician/health care professional coordinate patient care. The NCI principal investigator discusses the trial and treatment with the patient's physician/health care professional upon receiving a referral. Once a patient is enrolled in a trial, the investigator will send updates and test results at regular intervals.

NCI encourages physicians/health care professionals to continue open communications with their patients throughout the clinical trial. Patients are encouraged to share their clinical trial experience with their physicians/health care professionals. Referring physicians/health care professionals are welcome to call the NCI research team at any time to discuss patient treatment plans and care. If you are uncertain about whom to contact, please refer to the study contacts listed on the study protocol summary.

Q. What is the cost to the patient?

A. There is no charge for medical care received at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. Patients will be responsible for travel costs for their initial screening visits. In most cases, once patients are enrolled in a trial, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will pay the transportation costs for all subsequent trial-related visits for patients who do not live in the local area. In addition, these patients will receive a small per diem for food and lodging expenses if they are being treated as outpatients.

It is important that patients maintain their current insurance plans to cover all medical care that is provided away from the NIH Clinical Center.

No U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident residing in the U.S. who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements will be denied enrollment in clinical research protocols because of their inability to pay the costs of travel and subsistence.

Q. Who is eligible to participate in a clinical trial?

A. Anyone who meets the medical eligibility requirements can participate. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are given first priority.

Because patient safety is of the highest concern, the NCI principal investigator and the research team make the final decision about enrolling a patient during the screening visit.

Q. What are clinical trial phases?

A. Clinical trials are usually conducted in a series of steps, called phases: Overview of Clinical Trials

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