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Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are one of the last few stages of a drug or procedure’s approval process. In a clinical trial, a new way of treating, diagnosing, or preventing a disease is used on a select group of volunteer patients, who then subject themselves to surveys, interviews, and tests to monitor the effects of the treatment. The purpose of a clinical trial is to test the safety and effectiveness of a medical tool, procedure, or drug.

For cancer patients, clinical trials are a way to access treatments unavailable to the public. It creates an opportunity to further science while benefiting from absolutely cutting-edge medical advancements. It also provides a way for patients to receive state-of-the-art care from cancer experts and elite researchers in the field. Valley Health offers patients access locally to clinical trials for the latest cancer treatments and drugs.

Click here to learn about open clinical trials currently available through our affiliated medical oncologists’ Winchester office.

How a Clinical Trial Works

Receiving care during a clinical trial is far different from normal cancer treatment. Treatments in a clinical trial are managed by a research team, which includes doctors, nurses, research assistants, data analysts, and specialists involved with the new treatment’s development.

While patients still receive care from a board-certified doctor, they may also interact with researchers to provide answers to questionnaires, keep a logbook, or provide frequent health updates. In turn, this may necessitate more visits to the doctor than standard care might require.

The benefits of a clinical trial include:

  • Access to new treatment unavailable anywhere else
  • New treatments may be more effective than standard care
  • Participants receive the close attention of a full staff of medical professionals
  • Trial results can help cancer patients in the future
  • Trial results may reveal new findings about cancer

Some clinical trials will also include social workers, pharmacists, and dieticians to ensure a safe and accurate test of the treatment. Supportive care is also important to a clinical trial, as a treatment may potentially come with painful or unforeseen side effects that are as bad as or worse than current treatments.

Resources & Information

If you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial, you should speak with your primary healthcare provider.

Information about cancer treatment clinical trials is available at the Cancer Information Service on the National Cancer Institute’s website. You can also search for available or current clinical trials by visiting the same website and accessing their NCI-Supported Clinical Trials page.

Another source available to patients is the U.S National Library of Medicine’s website, which lists clinical trials for all types of diseases as well as cancer. These trials include tests sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, independent investigators at hospitals nationwide, and the NIC itself.

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