Are clinical trials only for people in late stages of cancer?Many cancer patients think they can't participate in a clinical trial until conventional treatment stops working. This is unfortunate, because many experimental drugs and treatments work best in the early stages of cancer. Also, many clinical trials will only accept people who haven't received conventional treatments. The best time to volunteer for a clinical trial is as soon as you are diagnosed.
Is it dangerous to be in a clinical trial?Experimental treatments do have side effects, and some of them can be unpleasant or even dangerous. But conventional treatments can have dangerous side effects, too. Patients enrolled in clinical trials are monitored closely by doctors and research nurses, who watch for early signs of complications and side effects and can stop the treatment immediately if problems develop. Plus, every clinical trial must be approved by an Institutional Review Board or IRB. IRBs include physicians, scientists and community members who review every study in advance to ensure that the benefits to study participants outweigh any risks involved in being part of the study.