Many cancer treatments used today are the results of previous clinical trials. Trials participants may be the first to gain from new trial treatments if the interim results of that trial are shown to be beneficial.
Patients with cancer, may want to think about participating in a clinical trial should there a suitable trial offered to them by their oncologist. Valuable information results from these trials such as improved methods for the treatment of a diverse range of cancer types, cancer diagnosis and cancer prevention. Some studies devoted to the development of methods aimed at the management of side effects are also undertaken.
Prior to offering a patient the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial, the oncologist will determine if the patient is eligible by looking at the type and stage of the patient's cancer and referring to the trial criteria for participant inclusion. Safety is a very important aspect of any trial as well as ethical conduct in every aspect of the clinical trial.
Each patient being offered participation in a trial is taken through the treatment they will receive as well as the standard treatment available should they choose not to participate in a trial. A detailed discussion will occur to provide a thorough understanding of the aim of the trial and all tests and observations required. Risks and benefits form a significant part of these discussions. There is no obligation to participate in any clinical trial or to continue to participate should a patient wish to withdraw.
Various panels exist to review safety of trial procedure and treatment and to analyse resulting trial data according to a pre-designed schedule.
At Riverina Cancer Care Centre, new trials are being introduced on a regular basis. Many different cancer types are included in hormonal, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, observation or questionnaire trials and studies. Cancer types include breast, prostate, lymphoma, head & neck, colon, rectal, gynaecological, lung, Indigenous health and pancreatic cancers. However, trials for other cancer types are commenced when available.