A clinical trial is a study conducted with actual patients, usually to evaluate a new treatment. Each study is designed to answer scientific questions and to find new and better ways to help patients.
Clinical trials are studies in which people of all ages can volunteer to join. Doctors use clinical trials to study the safety and benefits of new ways to treat patients, or how to prevent diseases in the first place. They also help study ways to manage symptoms of diseases or side-effects from treatments. All new treatments need to show they are effective through a clinical trial before the FDA approves them. The results of a clinical trial can make a major difference to patients and their families.
People of all ages can volunteer to join a clinical trial. According to Cancer.org, a new cancer drug has been studied for at least 6 years before it makes it to clinical trials, however clinical trials study all parts of medicine, not just cancer. To search for information on clinical trials for a urologic condition, or in a specific geographic area, view the Clinical Trials Resource Center.
There are many questions you may want to ask if you’re thinking about joining a clinical trial. If you want to join a clinical trial, ask your doctor if there’s one you can join. If the doctor offers you a clinical trial to join, consider asking questions about risks and benefits of the trials, as well as questions about costs and your rights as a group member in the trial. Visit Cancer.org’s webpage for a list of questions you should ask your doctor about clinical trials.