Clinical Trials

Many view taking part in a clinical trial as a very positive experience. Some of the benefits include:

  • Getting a new treatment before it is widely available.
  • Being one of the first to benefit if the drug or treatment works.
  • Receiving additional monitoring and care – you will need to attend regular tests and check-ups
  • Helping advance medical knowledge for the benefit of patients now and in the future.

Often studies are randomised, so you will not know whether you are receiving the new or the standard treatment. Some research has shown that taking part in a trial improves long-term survival, even if you do not have the drug/procedure being tested. The reasons for this are not clear, however it has been suggested that hospitals which undertake medical research provide better treatment.

You also need to consider that new treatments are not always better than standard treatments. The new drug or treatment might not work for you and sometimes there are unexpected side effects.

Many trials compare new treatments with standard treatments, you may be selected to receive either the new treatment or the standard treatment. So, by agreeing to be in a trial, it does not necessarily mean you will receive the new drug being tested.

You may be eligible to take part in a trial. They have strict criteria for joining them to make sure that the results can be relied upon by comparing like with like, and not all treatment centres are involved in trials. Your oncologist should know what is possible, but sometimes you may need to ask specifically about clinical trials.

You might want to ask:

  • What trials are you eligible for at your treatment centre?
  • If you’re willing and able to travel, what is available at another centre?
  • What is the aim of the trial?
  • What is the evidence that this new treatment might be effective?
  • What are the possible risks and benefits of taking part?
  • What taking part would involve compared to not taking part?

You may also be asked to take part in research studies, for example into your wellbeing, which may involve taking part in interviews and surveys.

Remember, if you are suitable, it is your decision whether or not to join a clinical trial.

Values you may wish to consider during treatment

    • Are there any factors apart from curing your melanoma that you would like to take into account when receiving treatment?
    • Do you want the treatment that is most likely to leave your daily life unaffected?
    • How much do you want to avoid having a visible scar after treatment?
    • How important is it to you to maintain living an active lifestyle, taking into account your daily activities and hobbies?
    • Are there any aspects of the appearance of the scar or the function of that area that are very important to you or that will have a particular impact on you?
click to progress