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Are clinical trials only for advanced cancer?

Our fight against cancer is not limited to advanced cancer. It is against all stages of cancer. Often, we research a study medicine in advanced cancer first. Then, if clinical trials show that the study medicine is safe and effective in advanced cancer, we next research it in earlier stages of cancer.

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Is there a chance I might receive a placebo instead of the study medicine in a cancer clinical trial?

Yes. However, in a cancer study, participants who receive the placebo also receive the current ‘standard of care’ for their cancer. Standard of care is the established treatment that is used for a condition, and is incorporated into the design of the study.

We learn about the efficacy and safety of the study medicine by comparing the experiences of the participants who receive the study medicine with those who receive the placebo as well as the current standard of care for their cancer.

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Do I have to go to a different oncologist if I participate in a cancer clinical trial?

It depends on whether your oncologist is on the clinical study team. As part of a clinical trial, your study-related medical care is provided by the study team at the location where you’re participating. This includes the principal investigator (study doctor) — the healthcare professional who conducts and takes responsibility for the study at that location — as well as other study team members.

During your clinical trial, you may also continue to see your regular medical doctors for any care that is not related to the study. It is important for you to tell your study team about other conditions you might have, and to let them know which other doctors are caring for you. This helps the study team coordinate your overall care. It is equally important to tell your other doctors about your participation in your study.

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