What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab. New cancer treatments are thoroughly tested for many years before they become available to patients in clinical trials. Only the most promising new treatments reach the clinical trial stage. Many treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials. Some treatments have been tested and found not to work. In cancer research, clinical trials are designed to answer questions about new ways to:
- Treat cancer
- Find and diagnose cancer
- Prevent cancer
- Manage symptoms of cancer
How is OVCARE involved in clinical trials?
OVCARE is a group of scientists, pathologists, and doctors from multiple disciplines (gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology) all working together with the goals of improving our understanding of ovarian cancer, and also improving the treatments available for ovarian cancer patients. The ultimate goal is to improve the survival of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When new discoveries are made, OVCARE is involved in testing these discoveries in patients. The doctors working at the British Columbia Cancer Agency conduct clinical trials. These doctors have experience in treating ovarian cancer as well as testing new treatments. OVCARE is launching a new clinical approach to treating rare tumours called SMART (shared access medicine approach to rare tumours).
Who can join a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are designed to answer proposed study questions. It is important that only appropriate patients are included in trials so that an answer can be obtained. All trials will have specific eligibility and exclusion criteria to help identify the correct patients for that study and to ensure patient safety. In addition to basic details such as the patient’s age, sex, general health and type and stage of cancer, blood tests, scans and other tests can be used to determine suitability for the trials.
Should I participate in a clinical trial?
Deciding to join a clinical trial is something only you can choose to do but to help make your decision you may want to discuss this with those close to you, and your doctors and nurses. Some questions you can ask to help make your decision are listed below.
Questions to Ask:
- Why is this trial being done?
- What are my other options (standard treatments, other studies)? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
- What kind of tests and treatments does the study involve? How often are they done?
- Will this require an extra time commitment on my part?
- How could the study affect my daily life?
- What side effects might I expect from the study treatment? (Remember that there can also be side effects from standard treatments and from the disease itself.)
- How long will the study last?
- What type of long-term follow-up care is part of the study?
How can you get involved?
If you would like to participate in a clinical trial, please contact your health care provider or click on the following link to the BCCA clinical trials page.