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What to Ask Before Joining a Cancer Clinical Trial

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Learn more about our patient-focused cancer services and treatments. For information, call the Rush Copley Cancer Care Center at 630-978-6250.

With any cancer care plan, it’s important to ask questions of your care providers to make sure you understand everything involved. The same is true when you’re deciding whether you’d like to participate in a clinical trial for cancer care at Rush Copley Cancer Care Center.

If you’re considering joining a cancer treatment clinical trial, you may find it helpful to ask your doctor the following questions—in addition to ones you may already have—to help you gather the information you need to make an informed decision.

Before Your Meeting

Before you meet with your doctor or research team to discuss your clinical trial participation, consider the following tips.

  • Bring a family member or friend along for support and for help asking questions or recording answers.
  • Know ahead of time what you want to ask, but feel free to ask any new questions you think of while you're meeting with your doctor or research team.
  • Write down your questions in advance to help you remember them all.
  • Write down the answers you get to your questions so you can review them at any time.
  • Consider recording the conversation, even if you take notes, to give you or a loved one who wasn’t present access to everything you discussed.

Questions About the Study

The following questions will help you gain further information about the cancer research study and its goals.

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Why do researchers think this approach may be effective?
  • Who will sponsor the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • How are study results and participant safety being checked?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What will my responsibilities be if I participate?

Possible Risks & Benefits

The following questions will help you consider the benefits of the study against the risks.

  • What are my possible short-term benefits?
  • What are my possible long-term benefits?
  • What are my short-term risks, such as side effects?
  • What are my possible long-term risks?
  • What other options do people with my risk of cancer or type of cancer have?
  • How do the possible risks and benefits of this trial compare with those options?

Participation & Care

These questions will help you determine the processes and tests involved in the cancer clinical trial.

  • What kinds of therapies, procedures and/or tests will I have during the clinical trial?
  • Will the procedures or tests hurt? If so, for how long?
  • How do the tests in the study compare with those I would have if I weren’t participating in the trial?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medication while in the clinical trial?
  • Where will I get my medical care?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?

Personal Concerns

The following questions will help you understand how participating in the clinical trial may affect your day-to-day life.

  • How could being in this study affect my daily life?
  • Can I talk to other people in the study?

Cost Concerns

These questions will help you understand any costs involved for participating in the research study.

  • Will I have to pay for any part of the trial, such as tests or the study medication? If so, what will the charges likely be?
  • What is my health insurance likely to cover?
  • Who can help answer any questions from my insurance company or health plan?
  • Will there be any travel or childcare costs I need to consider while I am in the trial?

Clinical Trials

Waterford Place

Cancer Support at Waterford Place

Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center, located adjacent to Rush Copley’s Aurora campus at 1310 Waterford Drive, provides services and support to anyone impacted by a cancer diagnosis. Waterford Place is a warm, welcoming environment where participants can connect with support services including mind-body classes, expressive therapies and informational programs along with a salon featuring an American Cancer Society® wig boutique. Programming focuses on the practical, from what to expect from treatment to how to balance practical concerns such as finances, working, health insurance as well as the emotional side of the disease. Regular lectures from clinical specialists and other health professionals help keep you informed on the latest research and treatment options, and on topics such as how to help caregivers and maintain relationships.