Clinical trials

When your treatment plan is being put together, your doctor may ask if you would like to take part in a clinical trial. The aim of these studies is to improve care in the future. Many treatments that are available today have been developed and improved through such research.

What is a clinical trial?

Some studies examine existing treatments, looking for better ways to combine them or administer them.

The emotional and practical effects of cancer are another growing area of study. This is to know more about the experiences of young people with cancer, and what kind of support would help others in the future.

There are different phases of clinical trials. Phase I and II trials are used to investigate a new treatment and determine the effective dosage. These usually involve a small number of patients. Phase III trials aim to confirm the benefits of this new treatment over the standard treatment. These trials involve a larger number of patients.

All medical research studies have to be approved before they can go ahead, which means the safety and ethical aspects have been considered by a panel of experts.

Informed consent

If you want to take part in a clinical trial, you and your parents (depending on your age) will need to give informed consent. This means that the trial has been explained to you, someone has told you what will be involved, and you have agreed to take part. You should be given at least 24 hours to think about your decision, if you need to.

If you like, ask if you can talk to a member of the research team so you can learn more about the study. It will be a matter of understanding the potential risks and benefits. You don’t have to say yes, and your medical team will still give you the best possible care if you decide not to go ahead. You can also choose to withdraw from a clinical trial at any time.

For further information about clinical trials, visit the website of the CCLG.

Updated December 2014, next planned review 2017.