Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is a clinical trial that good?

People with late stage or recurrent cancer are often very hopeful to get into a clinical trial. But clinical trials are randomized. This means if you get into a clinical trial, it doesn't mean you are getting the new treatment. They are done as a blind test - no one knows if you are getting the new treatment or the current standard treatment. And there is no guarantee if the new treatment is any better than the current protocol.

I think I have blogged about this before but this article explains the whole process better than I probably could.

Clinical trials are very important and should not be avoided. In fact, we would probably be better off if we participated in more of them. I do not mean to cast doubt on their importance but I think it is important that people understand a clinical trial may not give them the new treatment and that the new treatment may not be any better than the current protocol.

All that being said sometimes clinical trials are the last hope for people. They offer a chance for a new treatment. Sometimes that is the only hope - that the new treatment is better and will cure them or slow tumor growth.

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