Many women view taking part in a clinical trial as a very positive experience. Some of the benefits include:
- getting a new treatment before it's widely available
- being one of the first to benefit if the drug or treatment works
- receiving additional monitoring and care – you'll need to attend regular tests and check-ups
- helping advance medical knowledge for the benefit of women now and in the future.
Often studies are randomised, so you won't know whether you're receiving the new or the standard treatment. Some research has shown that taking part in a trial improves long-term survival, even if you don't have the drug/procedure being tested. The reasons for this aren't clear; however, it's been suggested that hospitals that undertake medical research provide better treatment.
What are the disadvantages of taking part in a clinical trial?
Clinical trials often involve an experimental treatment and therefore you need to be aware of the following disadvantages that may occur from taking part.
- You may not receive the new drug being tested. As trials compare new treatments with standard treatments, you may be selected to receive either the new treatment or the standard treatment. So by agreeing to be in a trial, it doesn't necessarily mean you will receive the new drug.
- The new treatment may not work better than the standard treatment.
- The new treatment might have unexpected side effects.
- The clinical trial could inconvenience you. For example, medical appointments could take a lot of time. You might need to travel to the study site several times or stay in the hospital.