Taking part in a clinical trial

All clinical trials are different and can address many things. Whether a person is suitable for a trial will depend on what question the trial is trying to answer.

Clinical trials specify criteria for participation, this may include: 

  • your type and stage of cancer
  • your age
  • how well you are
  • whether you have any other health problems or have had previous cancer treatment
  • whether other tests are required.

You will also need to understand:

  • the possible benefits and risks of the proposed treatment
  • where the treatment and follow-up will take place
  • how the treatment will affect your daily life
  • the time and any costs involved.

Your doctor will help you determine whether any suitable trials are available.  Your doctor must also explain the trial to you and make sure you understand it completely, before you agree to participate.

For instance, clinical trials go through four phases or stages, each designed to answer a separate research question and improve the prospective treatment. You may hear it referred to as a Phase 1 or Phase 2 clinical trial.

Are you looking for a clinical trial?

Find a comprehensive list of clinical cancer trials that are recruiting or soon to be recruiting in NSW.

Each research trial has a list of the different sites that are recruiting patients for a trial with their contact details.

You can search by location or cancer type to help you and your doctor identify trials that might be suitable.

If you are considering a clinical trial

  • Clinical trials are extremely variable and can address many things. Some trials look at new treatments, some are investigating a new diagnostic test, and some are just observing what happens to cancers during treatment.
  • You may be eligible for a trial at your cancer centre if there is one open there that is appropriate for you and your cancer.
  • You could ask your treating doctor if there is a trial that would be suitable for you.
  • If there is not a trial open at the cancer centre you are attending, it is reasonable to ask if there is somewhere else that has one.
  • Generally but not always, to take part in a clinical trial you must be fairly well and able to travel easily back and forth to the cancer centre.
  • You must be able to give informed consent for the trial and it is helpful that you discuss it with your family.

by Dr Lorraine Chantrill
Director of Oncology Clinical Trials, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre