Clinical trials are crucial to advancing cancer research, but less than 5 percent of adult cancer patients actually sign up for them, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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Why do patients hesitate? I think many of my patients don’t know enough about clinical trials to consider them an option. To them, “clinical trials” sound mysterious and even scary. Many patients don’t understand the potential benefits of enrolling in trials.
There’s also a lot of misinformation out there. Some patients have told me they’re afraid if they participate in a clinical trial they may be given a useless placebo, which isn’t true. As a matter of fact, most trials don’t even involve placebos.
So to guide patients and help take away some of the mystery, we’ve developed a free clinical trials application.
An easy introduction to clinical trials
The Cleveland Clinic Cancer Clinical Trials App connects patients and doctors to open clinical trials. It’s an easy way to search trials and we hope patients, their families and doctors use the app together as a tool to find new treatment opportunities.
We also want it to serve as a first step in helping patients understand the value of clinical trials, how they work and what they mean to cancer research.
The first screen you see has three tabs to choose from:
- Search Clinical Trials – a searchable database of all open clinical trials at Cleveland Clinic, sorted by disease group, physician, hospital and location
- Patient Resources – a listing of all resources, including immediate access to free treatment guides, support groups, financial services and the Cancer Answer Line
- Trial Information – a patient-focused overview of clinical trials to give you a head start in talking with your doctor about treatment options. Learn what happens in clinical trials including benefits and drawbacks, why research is important, what eligibility criteria exists, and questions to ask your doctor
Even with this information, you will want to talk to your doctor or a cancer specialist to make the decision about what’s right for you. As you go through the app, you can connect directly with our cancer specialists at the Cancer Answer Line. On every screen you have the option connected right away through phone or email.
While there’s no substitute for talking with your doctor about all your treatment options, we hope this app serves as another source of more information that you can use.