Placebos, or inactive medications, are never used in place of the best known standard of care and are rarely used at all in cancer clinical trials. If a placebo is used, it is given along with an active drug.
Clinical trials do not limit access to other care; they are completely voluntary. A participant can withdraw from a trial at any time and for any reason to pursue a different course of treatment.
The ultimate purpose of a clinical trial may be to determine the effectiveness of a new therapy. However, extensive research is conducted on a new treatment before it’s tested with trial participants to ensure safety. Additionally, regulations are in place to protect patients’ rights and ensure trials meet strict scientific and ethical standards.
While there are clinical studies only for patients who have tried all treatment options or who have a cancer that is seldom seen, there are also many trials for first line treatment, common cancers, and other subjects of interest.
Today clinical trials are offered in many settings, including community based cancer centers. Patients can access the newest trials with the same resources and expertise as a large health system, right in their community.