Cancer is the top most dreaded disease anywhere in the world and this isn’t just one but a hundred different types. The National Cancer Institute defines cancer as a term used for diseases where abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Clinical trials help bring new and innovative cancer treatment options and one way to accomplish this is by participating in cancer research studies and trials.
It is imperative that clinical trials are conducted and these research studies involve people who take part in helping out in terms of contributing more knowledge to scientists and in developing treatments for this dreaded disease.
The studies being conducted test new ways to treat, prevent, screen and diagnose cancer. Thus, these are also the types of cancer clinical trials, depending on the primary purpose.
These studies focus on testing the effectiveness of new treatments or new ways of using current treatments in cancer patients. Treatments that have been tested may include new drugs, new combinations or currently used drugs, new surgery or radiation therapy techniques, vaccines or other treatments which stimulate a person’s immune system to fight cancer. Treatment trials are conducted to answer the following questions:
- What new approach can help the cancer patients?
- Which one is the most effective treatment?
- Does the new treatment work as opposed to the old one?
- What side effects does the new treatment have?
Prevention trials involve healthy people. Either the participants aren’t cancer patients but are at high risk of developing such disease or these participants are cancer survivors who are at high risk for developing a new cancer. Research studies look at both the cancer risks and how to reduce those risks.
Screening trials focus on testing new ways to identify cancer ahead of time. This is because it has a higher possibility to be treated easily when it is still in its early stage. Thus, detecting cancer in a patient would be considered an effective screening test and this will reduce the number of deaths.
Research studies identify if detecting cancer prior to its symptoms will save lives and if one screening test is better than the other.
Researchers also need to find out if participants of the screening test have undergone unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures.
Diagnostic trials study new procedures and tests which may contribute to identifying cancer more accurately. These usually involve people who have signs or symptoms of cancer.
Quality of Life
Coping with the pain that a cancer patient endures is one of the hardest that mostly affects a patient’s daily life. This is why there are quality-of-life trials or supportive cards as well to focus on ways to improve the life of cancer patients, most especially those who are suffering from the side effects brought about by cancer and its treatment.