How Clinical Trials Are Changing Cancer Outcomes

Clinical trials are changing cancer outcomes on step at a time. Here's what to know about how they are making a difference

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February 4, 2020
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Cancer outcomes can be positively affected by clinical trials, but this statement is much bigger than it appears. For one, these trials can be improved in a number of ways that must be addressed.

The Good News About Trials

Yes, it is true that medical professionals have taken major steps against cancer. There are early diagnosis tools, good preventative treatments, and there are ways to control the cancer depending on its stage. The problem is that there is no conclusive cure, and this reality cannot be forgotten.

The reason medical professionals continue to suggest clinical trials to people is because these are needed. There are dozens of treatments that need to be tested to see how effective they can be against whatever type of cancer a patient has.

Once the patient agrees to the trial, positive outcomes have come from the trials, so it is in the best interest of the patient to say yes to melanoma clinical trials if that is the type of trial needed.

The Bad News About Clinical Trials

Trials are showing promise, but the results are not coming as quickly as people need them.

The reality is that the medical community has not been able to respond to the global need for a cure. At the moment, cancer is rising all around the world, so finding a solution is incredibly important, but to do that, folks need to go through trials.

The problem is many people who have various types of cancer don’t want to go through the trial, and they do have legitimate reasons to be fearful. Some folks do not do it because they are afraid of being placed in the placebo group. The fear here is misplaced. If the patient gets a placebo drug, that doesn’t mean the patient won’t get adequate care he or she would have gotten anyway.

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Other people choose not to try an experimental drug or treatment because they are afraid of the consequences.

It is true that virtually every medicine out there may have side effects, but when a patient is under a clinical trial, this person is going to be closely monitored. Side effects are going to be addressed as soon as they happen, so the chances of something bad happening is reduced. It should also be pointed out that taking this risk also means assisting the medical community in helping other cancer patients more effectively.

Another reason some people don’t enter clinical trials is because of the inconvenience. When a person participates in a trial, that person may miss work, travel, and not be able to spend as much time with family. These trials may feel like an inconvenience, but they are also a choice that could lead to recovery. The alternative isn’t always different from the trial, but at least the trial could lead to a positive outcome.

These are definitely challenges that the medical field faces regarding clinical trials, but one of the most detrimental challenges is simply the lack of encouragement. Physicians are sometimes not informed about clinical trials being run for cancer patients. Sometimes, this lack of information means this physician won’t encourage patients to consider a clinical trial.

Other times, the health care specialist does know about the trial but would prefer to use a treatment that he or she knows. These specialists might actually discourage patients from attempting something new, which can be effective, especially if the patient is not too informed about clinical trials.

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Folks who have cancer need to take a more active role if they want to become a part of the solution. They are going to have to do some research on their own, even if their doctors have not recommended anything. These trials are ongoing, so the likelihood of a patient finding something that might work for them is high. If one or many clinical trials are found, it’s important to bring them up on the next visit to see which one will work best for the cancer patient.

The outcomes are promising enough for people who are taking the risk and for the rest of the people in the world. There is no telling what the next clinical trial may discover, and that makes the journey worth it.