By involving yourself in a clinical trial, it could mean a really big change in the type of care you are now getting for your prostate cancer. Cutting-edge treatment is involved and few people have had it before, but make sure you learn how it works and what it will be like for you.
A clinical trial is a study that gives the researchers a chance to show that a treatment works and is safe. The procedure nor medical device will not be approved by the FDA until the clinical trial is completed. FDA already approves some of these procedures and test drugs for other conditions, but the researchers want to see if they might work for prostate cancer as well. Another reason for the clinical trials is to see if there is a benefit to taking two treatments together that are usually done alone.
Some trials provide the patient with typical medication used to treat cancer and a placebo, or the experimental drug. Other patients may get the typical medication used or the experimental drug. A patient can also get a placebo or the experimental therapy in some of the trials.
When you accept a clinical trial you are assigned at random an experimental or a control group. Regular care and the treatment being tested are in the experimental group. The control group gives you regular care and a placebo or “dummy pill.”
In cross-over studies the researchers give regular care and the experimental treatment to one group and the other group their regular care and the placebo. The groups then switch, but everyone eventually gets the experimental treatment.
In the double-blinded studies you’ll get assigned to either of the groups, but while the trial is going on, neither you nor the doctor will know which group is getting the experimental treatment or the placebo.
Care during a clinical trial is closely checked by the doctors, because they need to see how the treatment is working. They need to be sure they aren’t missing any important signals for good or bad. You will receive a lot of attention and care that might mean many trips to the research center.
Sponsors usually pay for the trial experimental drugs and everything else related to it, such as tests and lab work. Bills for any regular treatment are sent on to your insurance company and the insurance company cannot drop you for enrolling in an approved study.
Things to know before beginning a trial are what the experimental treatment is, the known and possible risks, if you might be getting a placebo, any treatments you might consider instead of experimental treatment, everything you need to do during the study and any money you will have to pay. Get the answer to these questions before you agree to take part in the trial.
Usually your doctor will know and suggest a specific clinical trial as one of your treatment options. If not, you might check these groups to find out about where to join a trial:
- National Cancer Institute
- The U.S. National Institutes of Health
- World Health Organization
- Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium
- Online clinical trial listing services, such as eCancerTrials, CenterWatch and ClinicalTrialsSearch.
There is an online checklist of the information you need to search for a trial at the National Cancer Institute site. Once you have found a trial that you or your doctor thinks might be right for you, either one of you can contact the research team so that you can apply. But before subjecting yourself to the unknown, wouldn’t it make more sense to give nature a try and treat yourself with holistic, alternative care? No unknowns and only proven all natural methods of care.
Dr Fredda Branyon