Dispelling Clinical Trial Myths
(National Cancer Institute photo)
Myth: Cancer clinical trials are
for people who have no other options.
Fact: Trials are often another
option that offers a treatment plan that may better address the
patient's needs and continue their quality of life.
Myth: I will receive inferior
Fact: Clinical trials often are
an option for a different and possibly better or more effective
Myth: I am a human guinea pig.
Fact: Institutional Review
Boards comprised of local physicians, nurses, ethics and legal
experts, and community leaders must approve all clinical trials
and the informed consent documents before they are approved for
people to participate in. These boards have the responsibility
to assure that there are no unreasonable risks, compared to the
benefits to the human subject. Most clinical trials testing new
drug treatments have already been tested in labs in animals and
Myth: Trials always include a
placebo or "sugar" pill.
Fact: Placebos are used only
when there is no standard care treatment already available.
Placebos are rarely used in cancer clinical trials. They are
never used in the place of the standard care treatment already
given. Any clinical trial that involves a test group that will
receive no treatment must inform participants in advance that
the trial has a placebo arm.
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For More Information
Visit the National Cancer Institute's education page about
cancer clinical trials at:
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