You may be asked by your doctor, or nurse, if you would be interested in participating in a "Clinical Trial". Why? Usually because the medical community wants to know if they are doing everything they can to give you the best possible treatment for you. That's easy. But what if the best treatment is a "maybe it will work" or "it works in the test tube!"
I have been involved in three clinical trials in my life.
1. When I was in college I volunteered to help test the reliability of polygraph machines. I was wired up strapped in and then experimented on. I remember signing something, I didn't read it beforehand though. (I have NO faith in the ability of a polygraph machine to accurately predict truthfulness in humans... none).
2. I volunteered to try an experimental nasal-pathway anti cancer drug, to test for efficacy (does it work well enough to change the way things are currently administered). I remember looking at the consent and knowing what it was. The doctor explained it so well that I didn't really read it when I took it home that night; the next day I said I did read it though...
3. I volunteered to be measured all over and followed for a long time to see if my body changed in predictable ways. I was working in the field by then so I couldn't WAIT to read the consent and compare and contrast what what written with what the doctor had said, with their language compared to the language we use in our consents, it was great fun! (didn't meet the eligibility requirements for that study though)
Like every other "after the fact" guy, I want folks to pay more attention than I did.
How many NCI trials are listed in Physician Data Query (PDQ®) database for the four major types of cancer?
- 133 for lung cancer (including 95 for non-small cell lung cancer, 33 for small cell lung cancer, and 3 for pulmonary carcinoid tumors),
- 192 for breast cancer (including 152 for female breast cancer and 40 for male breast cancer),
- 90 for prostate cancer
- 57 for colon cancer.
NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers
Clinical Trials Cooperative Groups
American College of Surgeons Oncology Group
Children’s Oncology Group
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer
Gynecologic Oncology Group
National Cancer Institute of Canada, Clinical Trials Group
National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project
North Central Cancer Treatment Group
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
Southwest Oncology Group