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Questions About Cancer Research

Cancer Research are studies of new treatments, approaches or combinations of treatments to fight cancer. Depending on your condition, you may have the opportunity to participate in a trial.

It is important to discuss your treatment choices with your doctor, a cancer specialist (an oncologist) to whom your doctor may refer you, and the staff of any cancer research you consider entering.

Ask questions about the information you receive during the informed consent process and about any other issues that concern you. Getting answers can help you work better with the doctor. You may want to take a friend or relative along when you talk to the doctor. It also may help to write down your questions and the answers you receive, or bring a tape recorder to record what is said. No question about your care is foolish. It is very important to understand your choices.

Questions to ask include:

The Study

  • What is the purpose of the study? In what phase is this study?
  • Why do researchers believe the new treatment being tested may be effective? Has it been tested before?
  • Who sponsors the study, and who has reviewed and approved it?
  • How are the study data and patient safety being checked?
  • When and where will study results and information go?

Possible Risks and Benefits

  • What are the possible short- and long-term risks, side effects, and benefits to me?
  • Are there standard treatments for my type of cancer?
  • How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits in the study compare with standard treatment?

Your Care

  • What kinds of treatments, medical tests, or procedures will I have during the study? Will they be painful? How do they compare with what I would receive outside the study?
  • How often and for how long will I receive the treatment, and how long will I need to remain in the study? Will there be follow-up after the study?
  • Where will my treatment take place? Will I have to be in the hospital? If so, how often and for how long?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • Will I be able to see my own doctor? Who will be in charge of my care?

Personal Issues

  • How could the study affect my daily life?
  • Can you put me in touch with other people who are in this study?
  • What support is there for me and my family in the community?

Cost Issues

  • Will I have to pay for any treatment, tests, or other charges?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or managed care plan?

Other Questions

For information about Cancer Research at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, please call: Kathleen O'Connor, Clinical Trials Coordinator
(800) 452-5052
(509) 522-5993

For more information about clinical trials, visit the Food and Drug Administration.