EXPLORING CLINICAL TRIALS
Many advances in cancer treatment today are a result of medical research performed in clinical trials. Recently, many immunotherapy agents have been approved to treat several cancer types, including some genitourinary (GU) cancers. Researchers are using this knowledge to continue to make progress in the treatment of other cancer types.
Many clinical trials are currently taking place to evaluate different components of GU cancer treatment, including patient responses to existing therapies, the effectiveness of combining immunotherapy with other therapies, the result of modifying the order of the agents given, how to avoid toxicities, managing immune-related adverse events and more. Doctors and scientists also continue to explore why immunotherapy is effective for some people but not for others, even when they have the same cancer.
Clinical trials present many potential benefits, such as the opportunity to access leading-edge treatments that aren’t yet widely available. They may be an alternative if your current treatment isn’t working as well as it once was, or if you have a rare type of cancer that hasn’t been studied as much as others. At the same time, trials can present potential risks or inconveniences. Almost every type of cancer treatment has side effects. Those in clinical trials are no different and may not be fully known.
Before volunteering, you will receive detailed information about the trial in a document known as the Informed Consent. This form details the purpose of the research, including your role in the trial, how the trial will work, risks, benefits and other pertinent information. To ensure that you fully understand, you are required to review the form during the Informed Consent process. Before signing it, check with your insurance providers to determine the procedures that are covered and those you will be expected or required to pay out of pocket. Although many trials may cover the costs of certain treatments, other expenses may be your responsibility. It is important for you to have this information before you begin participating in the trial.
Illustration: Searching for a clinical trial (filename: Clinical Trial)