Participation and Expectations
Who can participate in clinical trials?
Each clinical trial is designed to study a specific sub-group of the population and includes eligibility criteria to ensure the trial comprises the patients for whom the investigational treatment is designed. Sometimes, the eligibility criteria focus on patients who are generally healthier, in case there are unexpected side-effects associated with treatment. To determine if you are eligible for a trial, the principal investigator (the doctor conducting the clinical trial) will “screen” you to see if you meet the eligibility requirements. The screening may include a review of your medical records; a verbal discussion about your health, previous treatments, and symptoms; bloodwork; and additional tests and scans. If you are eligible for the trial, then it is time for you to make a decision about participating. Participation in clinical trials is 100 percent voluntary, and you may withdraw from a trial at any time for any reason.
What Can Patients Expect in a Clinical Trial?
Researchers rely on medical organizations, such as cancer centers, hospitals and medical centers, to find clinical trial participants.
If you join a trial, you will continue to receive care from your primary physician. But not all clinical trials are available everywhere, so you may need to travel and/or you may need to be seen at the center where the trial of interest is being conducted. Because researchers need to monitor the effects of a treatment to assess it, you may have to undergo additional blood tests, biopsies or checkups.
Read more about whether a clinical trial is right for you on our blog or join the conversation on the Melanoma > Exchange, our online community focused on melanoma research, clinical trials, and treatment.