Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Understanding Clinical Trials

A Guide For Participants

Clinical trials are clinical research intervention studies that evaluate new medical approaches and increase scientific understanding of a wide variety of diseases.

Our goal at UHealth is to translate research findings quickly into clinical care that benefits all patients.

Why Clinical Trials Are Important

Advances in medicine and science come from new ideas and approaches developed through research. New medical treatments must prove to be safe and effective in scientific studies with a certain number of patients before they can be made widely available.

Through clinical trials, researchers at UHealth learn which approaches are more effective than others. A number of treatments that are now standard were first shown to be effective in clinical trials.

Scientists may conduct clinical trials to accomplish a variety of research goals. The different types of clinical trials are:

Prevention trials, which test new approaches, such as medicines, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements that doctors believe may lower the risk of a certain type of cancer. These trials look for the best way to prevent cancer in people who have never had cancer, or to prevent cancer from coming back or a new cancer occurring in people who have already had cancer.
Treatment trials, which test new treatments like a new cancer drug, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods such as gene therapy
Screening trials, which look for new ways to find or locate the presence of a health condition or a disease like cancer, and help detect it in its early stages
Diagnosis trials, which test new methods for diagnosing cancer
Coping with Cancer Trials (Quality of life trials or Supportive care trials), which explore ways to improve comfort and quality of life for chronically ill individuals

Benefits To You

Involvement in a clinical trial is strictly voluntary, but people who participate can experience benefits.

Here are some benefits you could receive as a clinical trial subject:

• Access to promising drugs, medical devices, or treatment approaches before the general public
• Free or subsidized health care for the duration of the trial
• A more active role in your own health care
• Expert medical care at a leading health care facility
• Close monitoring of your health care and side effects

Clinical trials have played an important role in the fight against cancer. Participating in a clinical research intervention study contributes to medical knowledge. Many people with cancer are now living longer because of what was learned from past clinical trials. And if you decide to participate in a clinical trial at UHealth you will play in important role in advancing scientific knowledge and helping future patients.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

Recommended Links

Cancer.Net from ASCO: About Clinical Trials
Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
American Cancer Society: What You Need to Know About Clinical Trials
Myths & Facts about Cancer Clinical Trials – Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
Cost of Clinical Trials – National Cancer Institute
Clinical Trials and Insurance Coverage – National Cancer Institute
States That Require Health Plans to Cover Patient Care Costs in Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials Home Page

Glossary of related terms

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