The following is a list of questions by subject that you might want to consider discussing with your doctor or health care team if you are interested in participating in a clinical trial.
- What is the purpose of the study?
- Why do researchers believe this approach may be effective?
- Who sponsors the study?
- Who reviewed and approved the study?
- How are study results and safety of participants being handled?
- How long is the study?
- What are the participant’s responsibilities?
Possible Risks and Benefits
- What are the possible short-term benefits?
- What are the possible long-term benefits?
- Are there any known short-term risks or side effects?
- What are the possible long-term risks?
- Are there other options for people with my type of cancer?
- How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?
Participation and Care
- What kinds of therapies, procedures, or tests will I have during the trial?
- Will they hurt?
- How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have outside of the trial?
- Will I be able to take my regular medications while participating in the clinical trial?
- Where will I have my medical care?
- Who is in charge of my care?
- How could being in this study affect my daily life?
- Can I talk to other people in the study?
- Cost Issues
- Will I there be any costs I am responsible for covering?
- If so, what will the charges likely be?
- What is my health insurance likely to cover?
- Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
- Will there be any travel or child care costs that I need to consider while I am in the trial?
Be an Active Participant
When you talk with your doctor or members of the research team you should consider having a friend or loved one accompany you for support and to help in the question and answer process. Using this list, and your own personal questions, plan ahead what you want to ask and discuss with your doctor. Write down your questions in advance, to make sure you remember to ask them all. Just as you brought a list of questions with you, make sure you write down the answers so that they can easily be reviewed later. If you feel you might not be able to accurately record all of the information consider bringing a tape recorder in lieu of paper and pen. Do not be worried about asking the doctor to repeat themselves or better explain complicated responses, as the most important aspect of asking these questions is being fully informed about what the trial entails.