What to Consider

What to Consider When Thinking About Participating in a Clinical Trial

We understand this is not a light decision. You may be thinking about how it will impact your overall health, how it will affect your family, the costs associated, or if it is the best viable option at this time in your journey.

We’ve compiled a few questions and answers that may help you better understand clinical trials and be prepared to have a discussion with your loved ones and care team.

Clinical trials have both potential risks and benefits. They test therapies that have not yet been approved by FDA to treat disease(s) in humans. The choice of whether to participate in a clinical trial should be carefully weighed.

However, any potential new treatment must undergo vigorous review by the FDA before it can be given to patients. Before clinical trials are approved, an Investigational Review Board (IRB), and ethicists – that typically include both scientists and laypeople – examine the plan for testing the new treatment. This is to ensure the study meets ethical guidelines and does not pose an undue risk to patients.

Any approved trial must obtain “informed consent” from each patient who participates in a clinical trial. This means that the sponsor of the trial must explain the purpose of the study, the potential risks of participating in the trial – such as the potential risks of a new treatment being investigated – all in language and a format that is understandable.

At minimum, all patients in a cancer treatment clinical trial receive the best standard treatment, called the “standard-of-care,” in addition to any new treatments being tested. Four boards of experts, including the researchers, monitor the safety of the trial as it progresses and may stop the trial early if there are concerns about safety or if enough data is collected early.

Insurance and research sponsors often cover the cost of clinical trials. According to federal law, health insurers must cover approved clinical trials that you enroll in if you’re eligible for the study. Please note that insurance doesn’t always cover everything – if the trial uses out-of-network hospitals, insurance only has to pick up those costs if you have out-of-network coverage. Trial sponsors will typically pick up research costs, like extra blood tests, since insurance doesn’t have to pay for those.

You can learn more about the costs of care in clinical trials here.

While you are building your profile we will ask you where you live and how far you are willing to travel (or any other cities that you may have access to) to participate in a clinical trial. This allows you to find trials outside your immediate area that you may want to consider.

You can specify if you don’t want to travel. We will then only show you options accessible to your hometown.

You will only get matched with actively recruiting clinical trials. We will never match you with outdated or full trials.

Please visit our FAQ page to read more questions and answers around clinical trials, Cure Forward’s Clinical Trial Exchange and other important information you may need to know for having discussions with your loved ones and care team.