Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find effective treatments for cancer patients and potentially improve their quality of life. Since 1992, RMC has participated in numerous regional and national clinical trials to give patients the most up-to-date treatment option.
About 10 percent of RMC’s cancer patients are involved in a study. Patients have voluntarily enrolled in studies on cancers including lung, colon, esophageal, lymphoma, breast and ovarian, with many reporting successful outcomes.
RMC participates in trials with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville and the South Western Oncology Group. RMC oncologists select the most applicable studies for patient enrollment. Once approved by the Institutional Review Board, an independent group of doctors, technicians, community advocates and others, the study can enroll patients.
Since most patients are seen in oncologist’s offices within a community, another component to clinical trial participation is bringing the research to the patients. On the doctor-patient side of the equation, the need is clear to get new cancer drugs and therapies out of the lab and into practice.
To date, studies have shown that there is a benefit to patients even if the therapy is unsuccessful. According to clinical organizations, patients tend to do better and live longer. However, there are both benefits and risks to patients.
Benefits and Risks
Benefits to participation in a well-designed and implemented clinical trial include:
- Patients play an active role in their own health care.
- Access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
- Receive expert medical care at leading health care facilities during the trial.
- Help others by contributing to medical research.
Risks to clinical trials include:
- There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment
- The experimental treatment may not be effective
- The protocol may require more of their time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.
For more information, please contact Wendy Watson, RN, OCN, Oncology Research Nurse at (256) 235-5084.