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Questions to Ask About Clinical Trials

December 15, 2009

Written By Christine Cardellino
Reviewed By Andrea Mechanick Braverman, PhD

This list will help you talk with your doctor or nurse about whether being part of a breast cancer treatment research study is right for you:

1. What clinical trials (also known as research studies) are available as treatment options for me?

2. What is each study seeking to find out?

3. How does the treatment I would get on the trial vary from the standard, widely accepted treatment?

4. What are the potential benefits to me—and possible side effects or risks—of each trial?

5. Why do you think the research study you are suggesting is right for me?

6. Where will I go for treatment?

7. How often and for how long (weeks, months) will I have treatment?

8. Who will be the doctor in charge of my breast cancer treatment and care while I am on the trial?

9. What should I do if I have side effects from the treatment?

10. Will I be taken off the study if the treatment is not working for me?

11. Will the study be stopped if women have serious problems from the treatment?

12. Which doctor will I go to for care after I finish the trial?

13. What company, agency or institution sponsors this study?

14. Are the study costs covered by my insurance or by the trial sponsor? If I have no insurance, what are my options?

15. May I talk with women who are taking part in the trial or who finished it?

16. How can the study treatment schedule be balanced with my work and family responsibilities?

17. Who will monitor my condition and the effectiveness of treatment during the trial?

18. What can I do if I have questions about study safety or management?

19. How often will I have follow-up exams after the clinical trial? Where will I need to go for those exams?

20. How will I find out about the results of the trial?