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Why and how to join a clinical trial for my NSCLC

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When you have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), your care team will recommend an approach to treatment based on your cancer diagnosis, stage, overall health, and quality of life. 

Your doctor might recommend a clinical trial if there is one that you qualify for, but you may also need to do some research yourself since there are always new advancements in the field.

Clinical research trials are designed to provide insights on new therapies, so medical experts can determine if new treatments are safe and effective. If you’re thinking of joining a clinical trial, be sure to weigh the benefits and risks based on your diagnosis to make sure it’s the right fit for you. 

What are the benefits and risks of joining a clinical trial? 

Possible benefits include:

  • Access to a treatment that might not be available yet to people who aren’t in the trial
  • Extra care and supervision throughout the trial 
  • A treatment that might be more effective than an otherwise standard treatment
  • A contribution to cancer research that could help others in the future

Possible risks include: 

  • If the study is blinded, you won’t know which treatment you’re receiving throughout the trial
  • Serious side effects 
  • More doctor visits throughout your trial
  • Potentially more expenses related to added visits (dependent on your insurance) 

Before joining a clinical trial, make a comprehensive list of your questions. Take notes, ask to record your appointment, or bring a caregiver or friend to get a second pair of ears on the answers. 

To help you think of what to ask, the American Cancer Society compiled a list of questions to bring to your care or clinical team. Joining a clinical trial is a big decision, so be sure you have all the information you need before making a decision. 

If you have additional questions about clinical trials or you’d like to speak with someone, you can connect with an Outcomes4Me oncology nurse practitioner at no charge through the Outcomes4Me app, using the “Ask Outcomes4Me” button.

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