What are some of the risks and benefits of volunteering for a clinical trial?
Physicians discuss the risks and benefits of volunteering for a clinical trial. In terms of benefits of the clinical trial, basic standard of care is usually covered by a patient’s insurance (for example, physician visits and routine blood tests will be covered by insurance) but patients should check to be sure. Also, a research biopsy (taking a piece of the tissue to look at the genetic makeup of the tumor) would typically be covered, and the experimental drug that’s being studied is provided free of cost as part of the trial. An important part of the risks for patients are side effects. Patients need to have a detailed understanding of what the side effects are, and this is part of the consent process which they need to discuss with the researchers. Participating in a clinical trial is not for the faint of heart. It has to be something that patients are really committed to participating in because it will be a bit more intensive than just regular treatments. Of course there is the potential for higher reward. Patients need to understand both the benefits and risks very clearly before they agree to volunteer.
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