Clinical trials are experimental & beyond the commonly accepted
The treatment should have already passed a number of tests to be tested clinically, but is still awaiting approval by the governing health authority. In the US, those authorities are primarily the Food & Drug Administration and the Department of Health & Human Services.
Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.
Previous Research already has led to many advances
These advances have helped people live longer, and the research continues in the form of clinical trials. Doctors are trying to find better ways to care for people with esophageal cancer:
- Surgery: Surgeons are studying whether small cuts can be used instead of long incisions. The surgeon makes small cuts in the neck, chest, and abdomen. The surgeon sees inside the chest with a laparoscope, and the cancer-containing esophagus is removed.
- Chemotherapy and biological therapy: NCI is sponsoring a study of biological therapy (a monoclonal antibody) combined with chemotherapy.
- Supportive care: Doctors are also testing ways to manage the problems caused by cancer and its treatment.
Even if the people in a trial do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about cancer and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients.
If you’re interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor. You may want to read the NCI booklet: “Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies“. It describes how treatment studies are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.
Questions for your doctor before starting Clinical Trials
- What are clinical trials are available?
- How do they work?
- What if I decide to enter a trial, when should I enter a trial?
- How do I find a trial that is right for me?
- Will my insurance pay for a trial?
As you have these discussions with your doctor, be sure to ask other Recommended Questions.
Search for a clinical trial near you.
NCI’s Web site includes a section on clinical trials, which has general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of cancer.