Clinical trials are research studies that involve people and test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat cancer and other diseases. These trials often recruit patients who have tried several methods of cancer treatment already, making a clinical trial a promising option for those with recurrent ovarian cancer. Before deciding to participate in a clinical trial, you should consider a number of important factors. Use the following checklist as a guide to the steps you should take in deciding whether or not a clinical trial will fit your individual criteria and goals for treatment.
1. Understand clinical trials First, familiarize yourself with what a clinical trial is, why it is important, and how it might help you. To learn more, you can
- Ask your doctor if he/she knows of any trials, and discuss whether a trial is right for your type of recurrent ovarian cancer
- Read the The National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies, available online at www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/Taking-Part-in-Cancer-Treatment-Research-Studies
- Visit ClinicalTrials.gov’s Understanding Clinical Trials Web site, http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/info/understand.
2. Complete the Cancer Details checklist If you decide to look for a clinical trial, you must know the details about your cancer diagnosis. Each clinical trial has very particular eligibility criteria. To help you determine which trials you might be able to participate in, fill out the NCI Cancer Details Checklist, available at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/finding/treatment-trial-guide/page15, with as much detail as possible. Keep the list beside you as you search for trials.
3. Narrow your search criteria After you have fully completed the Cancer Details Checklist, you should consult resources that list current, or open, clinical trials. Narrow your search results by specifying that you have recurrent ovarian cancer to find trials that are appropriate for you. Resources that can help you locate trials are listed to the left.
4. Review the trial details Once you identify trials you may be interested in, carefully consider the following details of the trial:
- Trial objective Determine the main purpose of the trial and make sure it aligns with your goals for treatment.
- Eligibility and location Make sure you meet all the requirements for the trial, and decide where and how often you are willing to travel.
- Study length Ask how long the trial will run, and determine if it seems reasonable to you.
5. Ask questions Call the clinical trial team and ask questions that will help you determine if this particular trial is right for you. You may want to ask for the potential risks and benefits or for a copy of the informed consent document, for example. For a detailed list of further questions you should ask, visit www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/treatment-trial-guide/page12.
6. Discuss your options with your doctor Last, discuss any questions or concerns about the treatment with your doctor. Also ask about the risks and benefits of standard treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer. Once you have considered all these factors, make an informed decision about whether or not a clinical trial is right for you.