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22
TREATMENT PLANS /// CHAPTER 14
How does it work?
You will be prescribed a specific treatment plan proposed
by the scientists who designed the study (often national
experts in your disease). The plan and possible side effects
will be described to you in detail before you start. You will
have close monitoring, regular tests and may be asked
to answer questions about how you are feeling and what
you are experiencing. This may mean you have to visit the
hospital or your local doctor more often.
If at some stage during the trial the doctors discover that the
trial is not good for you because it might not be working or
the side effects are too bad, they will take you off the trial.
You can also usually withdraw from a trial at any time.
If you are asking yourself " How do I decide if it's right for
me? " here are some tips for you:
» No one can sign you up to be part of a clinical trial without
your permission.
» Make sure you ask as many questions as you want and
are sure that you understand what is involved. Ask for
some written information so you don't have to remember
everything.
» Talk it over with your parents, partner and friends.
» Don't feel rushed - it is a big decision.
» The doctors will respect your decision and if you decide
against it, you will still receive the best treatment
available.
» If you would like to take part in a clinical trial but have
not been asked, you can talk to your doctor who may be
involved in a suitable trial or can help you find one.
What are the phases of trials?
To prove the benefit of a new treatment, it is put through a
series of steps, or phases of trials.
The goals of each phase are:
» Pre-clinical: to test the treatment in a chemical
experiment and/or in animal studies, to learn about how
it works and the benefits and side effects we might see in
humans
» Clinical Phase 1: to find the best dose with the fewest
side effects of a treatment. Since no promises of
benefit can be given, these are offered to patients when
treatment options that are much more proven have been
exhausted.
» Clinical Phase 2: to assess if the treatment works for a
specific type of cancer.
» Clinical Phase 3: to compare the treatment to the current
" best " treatment for that cancer.
Is it safe? Will I be given a sugar pill or
placebo?
Don't worry that if you sign up you will be a guinea pig in a
mad scientist's lab test! That won't be the case. The trials
that most young people are involved in are called Phase
3 trials and they are about comparing the treatment being
tested with what is already available.
The treatment you will receive on a trial is just as good as,
or even better than, the best treatment available. The only
trials that involve placebos (inactive drug, sometimes called
a sugar pill) is in a phase 1 study, where the new treatment
may actually not be better than getting nothing.
TO FIND MORE INFORMATION
ON CLINICAL TRIALS VISIT:
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/
clinical-trials/what-are-trials
If they are comparing two treatments, do
I get to pick which one I get?
Sometimes all patients on the study will get the new
treatment and the results will be compared to patients
who got the other treatment in the past. Sometimes the
comparison happens within the study, and participants are
randomized to receive either the established or " control "
treatment or to the new of " experimental " treatment. This
choice isn't yours or your treatment team's, but is decided by
random (like a flip of a coin) so that at the end of the study,
equal numbers of patients will have gotten each treatment.
You will only be offered this type of study if it is truly
believed both choices are reasonably equally good, AND that
both have reasonably equal side effects.
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/what-are-trials https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/what-are-trials https://fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of What Do I Do Now?

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