Most people know little or nothing about clinical trials, their purpose, how to find them, or the underlying principle for their performance. This lack of information is probably the reason cancer patients do not participate in clinical trials, and the fact that physicians do not offer such trials often enough as a therapeutic option.
A trial on 6,000 oncology patients in the United States of America indicates that 85% of them do not know what clinical trials are, or are not certain that participation in clinical trials would be a treatment opportunity for them. At the same time, 75% said that if they had known in time, they would have asked to take part in the clinical trial. The reasons why patients would not be included in clinical trials were:
On the other hand, patients who participated in clinical trials were very satisfied: 97% said they were treated with utmost respect and that they rated the treatment they received as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Despite their initial fears that they were being used as ‘lab rats’, the truth is that the treatment they received was the best possible, and they were closely monitored.
Most of today’s most effective cancer treatment options were introduced precisely through clinical trials. Many patients have had longer lives because of clinical trials in the past. In addition, resuscitation care has improved significantly and the side effects of chemotherapy, which are often frightening for patients and their families, are fewer, and can be better controlled.
How do clinical trials function?
Clinical trials are research studies that test new drugs in people with cancer. The search for new medicines begins in the laboratory, where scientists develop and test their new ideas. If an approach looks promising, it may be tested on animals to see how it affects the cancer of a living being and whether it leads to any harmful effects. Only after a long period of testing in laboratories may a new drug be studied on humans to understand its safety and effectiveness. A clinical trial is the final stage of a long and careful process of cancer research, the aim of which is to find better treatments, extend patients’ lives and improve their quality of life.
Clinical trials have enabled significant progress to be made in the development of new cancer treatments.