Clinical Trials

Benefits of Clinical Trials

Participating in a clinical trial has the potential to help both the participant and others who have or may develop cancer.

  • You can gain access to drugs and treatments before they are widely available.
  • You can receive expert medical care at leading healthcare facilities often covered by the trial sponsor and/or insurance and Medicare.
  • You can play a more active role in your own health care.
  • You can help future generations by contributing to cancer research.

Myths vs. Facts

Myth: If I participate in a clinical trial I may receive a placebo and I won’t be treated for cancer.

Fact:  Placebos are not used in clinical drug trials in place of treatment. Patients usually either receive the current standard of care available (which is what they would receive outside of a clinical trial) or the current standard of care plus whatever treatment is being tested.

Myth: My insurance won’t pay for a clinical trial.

Fact: Many states, including Virginia, require that insurance companies cover routine costs of care in a clinical trial.  Medicare began covering routine costs for clinical trials in 2000. If you are receiving an experimental, new breast cancer treatment in addition to routine breast cancer care, the trial sponsor is responsible for the new cancer treatment while many insurers will cover the remaining costs.

Myth: I can only participate in a clinical trial if I live near a large cancer center.

Fact: Clinical trials take place throughout the country at local hospitals, local cancer clinics and doctor’s offices.   We are fortunate in Virginia to have two National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers – VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond and the UVA Cancer Center in Charlottesville.

Myth: Clinical trials are a last resort.

Fact: Clinical trials should always be considered as an option for treatment. There are trials for nearly every type and stage of cancer.

Myth: I won’t receive good care if I join a clinical trial.

Fact: Most cancer survivors who have taken part in a clinical trial were very satisfied with their experience according to a study conducted by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups.  92% reported a positive experience and 91% said they would recommend participating in a clinical trial to a friend.

Myth: If I join a clinical trial I can’t get out of it if I change my mind.

Fact:  You may quit a clinical trial at any time.