For a very few cancers, treatment options are minimally invasive, resoundingly curative, and have very few side effects. However, most cancer patients face treatment options that are less than ideal. The odds they have been given for a chance of recurrence might be frightening. Or, the "cure rate" of treatment might be good, but the side effects (short- or long-term) might be daunting.
However, there's great hope on the horizon. Basic research on cell biology is finally yielding important clues about the nature of cancer, and these clues are leading directly to promising new treatments. Physicians are finding better ways to alleviate cancer pain and some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. Medical device companies are testing new ways to detect cancer in ever earlier stages. And researchers are even developing therapies that will prevent the development of cancer in people who are at risk.
Author Robert Finn, a science and medical journalist, believes that if you are not evaluating potential experimental treatments alongside the standard treatment protocols, you aren't considering all the facts you need.
Cancer Clinical Trials is aimed at helping you consider the range of treatment options available through clinical trials -- treatments that may not be available any other way. It includes:
Reasons to consider a trial (as well as reasons to decide against one)
Structure of clinical trials and ethical guidelines
Administration of trials (and what are the interests and involvement of players such as the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, the NCI, scientists)
Inclusion and exclusion criteria for joining a trial