One way to access new treatments before they become widely available is to participate in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a research study that uses volunteers (called participants) to test new ways to prevent, detect, treat or manage prostate cancer or other illnesses. Some clinical trials help determine whether or not a new treatment, drug or device is effective and safe.
Types of Clinical Trials
There are many different types of clinical trials depending on the research question being investigated. For example, Some clinical trials are looking at prevention while others are testing new treatment options.
Participating in a clinical trial is a valuable contribution to research. Clinical trials answer important questions and lead to better health outcomes. Also, it’s a good way for participants to access free treatments and get monitored closely by healthcare professionals.
Participation is Voluntary
Participation in clinical trials is voluntary. You can choose to participate (if you qualify) or you can choose to withdraw from a clinical trial at any point without any penalties.
Qualifying for a Clinical Trial
Not all individuals interested in participating in a clinical trial can do so. There are specific criteria (i.e., inclusion and exclusion) that determine whether an individual can participate or not. This criteria is outlined by the clinical trial research team, who determine the ‘type’ of participant they are looking for to get the most accurate results or answer the study question. Inclusion criteria are criteria individuals must meet to participate in the clinical trial. While, exclusion criteria are factors that exclude some people from participating. In order to become a clinical trial participant you must satisfy both the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
The criterial are often related to:
Benefits and Risks
- Type and stage of disease
- Previous or current medications/treatments
- Other existing medical conditions
With each clinical trial there are potential benefits and risks to the participants. The clinical trial research team, design the trials to have the most benefits and as few risks as possible. However, each clinical trial will have its unique possible benefits and risks. It’s important to consider these and talk to the study team and your doctor if you’re considering participation.
Rules and Regulations
There are strict government and international rules, regulations and policies for clinical trials to make sure that research using human participants is done in the most safe and ethical manner. There are various levels of approval before a clinical trial can take place to protect the participants taking part.
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