Top 5 Questions About Clinical Trials

It is understandable to have many questions about clinical trials. Below are a few common cancer clinical trial questions.

1. What is a Cancer Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials help us to improve treatments for people with cancer. Scientists and doctors use clinical trials to find better ways to screen for cancer and to prevent and treat cancer. Every standard cancer treatment we have today went through a clinical trial to become the standard. Clinical trials help us to improve standard treatment. They help us to save lives.

A clinical trial answers well-defined scientific questions. The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center runs clinical trials to better diagnose, prevent and treat cancer. Clinical trials are grouped into different types and phases. Each type and phase follows a set of rules to answer the question the clinical trial focuses on. Federal rules help to ensure the safety and ethics of all clinical trials in the United States.

The UNM Cancer Center offers phase I, phase II and phase III clinical trials for most cancers. When you take part in a clinical trial, your care must follow strict rules. These rules are called the “protocol” for that clinical trial. The protocol is based on scientific studies.

2. Is a Clinical Trial Right for You?

Only you can decide whether joining a clinical trial is best for you. But, our team can give you important facts to help you make your decision. Before you decide to join a clinical trial, our team will talk to you about it. They will tell you what the trial is studying, how long it will last, and what you can expect as you take part in it. They will also tell you about the risks you may take or discomforts you may have while taking part. They will explain the benefits the trial may give you. You can choose to receive the standard care for your cancer or you can choose to receive care through a clinical trial.

If you join a clinical trial, you may choose to leave it at any time and for any reason. If you leave a clinical trial, you will still receive the standard treatment for your cancer.

3. How Much Does a Clinical Trial Cost?

The cost of a clinical trial varies. Before you join a clinical trial, our team will explain the costs you will have to pay for, the costs your insurance will pay, and the costs the trial will pay.

4. How Can I Join a Clinical Trial?

First, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will review the clinical trials available and will tell you which ones you may qualify for. Your doctor will also work with the rest of your medical team and with our Clinical Research Office. We want to make sure that we meet your wishes for your care, whether or not your care includes a clinical trial.

5. Where Can I Learn More?

The National Cancer Institute has general information about clinical trials at: For general cancer clinical trial questions in New Mexico: