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What Are the Types of Clinical Trials?

Prevention

These trials test new approaches that doctors believe may reduce your chance of developing cancer. Most involve healthy people who have not had cancer. Some studies are conducted with people who have had cancer in the past to try to find ways to prevent second cancers.

Screening

Since cancer is often easier to cure when it is found early, screening trials test methods to better detect cancer, especially in the early stages. These studies also help find out whether finding cancer before it causes symptoms will lessen a patient's chances of dying from the disease.

Diagnostic

Diagnostic trials help answer whether or not there are new approaches that could be used to find certain types of cancer and at an earlier stage.

Treatment

The purpose of these trials is to find out if a new treatment or technique is better than the standard treatment. This can include new approaches to radiation therapy, new drugs, vaccines and different combinations of treatment.

Supportive Care/Quality of Life

These studies explore ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with cancer or survivors. These trials also study ways to better combat the side effects of some treatments.

Genetics Studies

These are generally done with another clinical trial and focus on how genetic makeup can affect detection, diagnosis or response to cancer treatment.

  • Who Can Participate in a Clinical Trial?
    Each clinical trial calls for certain criteria that a patient must meet to be included in that trial.

Your age, gender, medical history, current health, what type and stage of cancer all factor into eligibility.

It is important to remember that clinical trials are completely voluntary. Patients can leave a trial at any time.