As a UNM Cancer Center patient, you may be able to try some of the newest cancer treatments with the greatest promise. The NCI and other leading cancer research institutions sponsor these treatments through clinical trials.
Clinical trials test and carefully study new treatments under strict oversight to protect patients who join them. Clinical trials can test new methods to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. People who join clinical trials may be able to get treatments that are more effective than current treatments. And, they may feel good about helping scientists and clinicians learn about new ways to treat and cure cancer.
The UNM Cancer Center has about 175 clinical research studies open at any time. About 15 percent of our patients decide to join a clinical research study. Each study has a set of conditions that you must meet before enrolling. You will have to talk to your physician to find out which studies you can join, if any. If you choose to join, our medical and clinical research teams will closely watch you.
There are some risks to joining a clinical trial. After all, if we fully understood everything about new cancer treatments, we would not need clinical trials. One risk is that some new drugs or procedures tested in a clinical trial may not be better than the current drugs or procedures. They may have side effects that researchers and clinicians do not expect. Or, the side effects may be worse than the current drugs or procedures. Another risk is that you may not always be able to choose which treatment you get. You may get the new treatment or you may not. Finally, you may be required to visit your doctor’s office more often if you join a clinical trial.
Joining a clinical trial is a very personal decision that you should make with your doctor and your loved ones. All clinical trials are voluntary. You always have the right to choose whether or not you will join. You also have the right to leave a clinical trial at any time and for any reason. You will always get the highest level of care possible, whether or not you join a clinical trial.
To find out more about clinical trials, please call our Clinical Research Office at 505-272-5490 or you can search our clinical trials to discuss with your doctor. You can also call our statewide clinical trials network, the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, at 505-272-7813 or visit them online at http://www.nmcca.org.