How do I take Part in a clinical trial?
Who is eligible to participate in a clinical trial?
Each study has its own guidelines for who can participate, called eligibility criteria. Generally, participants in a study are alike in key way, such as the type and stage of cancer, age, gender, or previous treatments. The eligibility criteria are included in the study plan (see The plan for a trial: What is a protocol?). To find out if you are eligible for a particular study, talk to your doctor or the doctor or nurse in charge of enrolling patients in the study.
Where are trials conducted?
If you were to participate in a clinical trial, you might receive your treatment at a large cancer center, a university hospital, or your local medical center or physician's office. Clinical trials are also conducted at the National Cancer Institute on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Depending on the type of trial and on the approach being studied in it, the trial may be treating participants at one or two highly specialized centers or at hundreds of locations at the same time. You would participate in the trial under the guidance of a team including your physician and other health professionals, who would report your experience with the treatment back to the center responsible for the trial's overall coordination. Experts could then use the information from all the participants to evaluate the treatment being tested.
Who pays for the patient care costs on a clinical trial?
Even if you have health insurance, your coverage may not include some or all of the costs associated with a clinical trial. This is because some health plans define clinical trials as "experimental" or "investigational" procedures. Although most insurance plans and HMO healthcare plans cover most major prostate cancer trials, be sure to ask your physician and insurance company about the financial coverage of the clinical trial.
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