Clinical trials are important to you in two ways. Firstly, results from them are used by doctors to determine which treatment is ‘best’. Secondly, you may be asked to take part in them. One of the worst aspects of clinical trials for you—the person with cancer—is that if you agree to take part in them you don’t get to decide on your own treatment (and nor, incidentally, does your doctor, because the treatment is decided by chance). You would be asked to agree to be randomised and then to have whichever treatment you are allotted by chance. Taking part in this type of clinical trial is of no benefit to you personally—you would be better off choosing the treatment you preferred (which may of course be one of the treatments being tested). It is also of little benefit to future patients because such small differences between treatments are being looked for. If people with cancer were given the choice between treatments, they would place more importance on things like convenience, side effects, comfort and time in hospital than on whether or not one or the other is likely to produce a few extra weeks or months of life. Differences in results that are big enough to be important and worthwhile for people with cancer don’t need randomised clinical trials and statistics to prove them.


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Posted on Friday, May 15th, 2009 at 6:35 am and is filed under Cancer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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