Why should I consider taking part in a clinical trial?
There are many reasons why people agree to take part in a clinical trial. The important thing is that they understand the trial and give their consent to take part, whatever their reasons.
Whatever your reason for thinking about joining a clinical trial, it is important that you talk to your doctor or healthcare team, to discuss the possible risks and benefits and to make sure that you understand what the trial will involve before you join. This discussion may take place over several appointments, and might include discussion of the Informed Consent Form, which is the formal document that you would sign if you decided to join a clinical trial. The Informed Consent Form can be quite long, as it is important that all of the information about the trial is explained clearly. You should have the opportunity to read the document carefully, discuss it with your doctor, and take some time to think about your decision before you sign the form.
It is important that people consider the possible risks of taking a new medication, as well as the possible benefits. There is no guarantee that the new medication or new treatment combination will be any better than the standard treatment and the side effects could be much worse. A clinical trial is run to find answers, such as whether a new medication is better or safer, so there are some questions that cannot be answered until the trial is complete.
How can my family, friends and carers support me?
When you are diagnosed with a serious illness, it is hard for family, friends and carers to know what they can do to help. There are a number of ways that they can support you, so you can get the most out of your treatment.
Not everyone looking after somebody with a serious illness sees themselves as a carer; instead, they can see themselves as ‘just doing their bit’. However, recognising that they are a carer can help them to get the best support. Some examples of how your family, friends and carers may want to support you are:
Help for carers can include the assistance of nurses, hospices, or residential care for you. As carers, people may also be entitled to receive benefits if their role affects their job/childcare.