Clinical Trials for Cancer

What Clinical Trials For Cancer Are Available?

There are several types of clinical trials for cancer. They include cancer prevention trials, screening trials to detect cancer earlier, diagnostic trials to identify cancer more accurately, treatment trials and quality-of-life trials to explore ways of improving the comfort of cancer patients and survivors.

Another part of a clinical trial can involve genetics studies. This component may focus on how genetic makeup can affect the detection, diagnosis or response to cancer treatment. For ovarian cancer, the areas where better medical approaches are needed are diagnostic and screening methods to detect the disease earlier, as well as better treatment methods.

The process of developing better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat cancer starts in the research laboratory. It takes many years of careful research to get to the clinical trials for cancer stage. As an example for new cancer treatments, in the clinical trial stage the safety and effectiveness of new or modified drugs, new drug doses, unique approaches to surgery or radiation therapy and various combinations of treatments are evaluated in patients with cancer. Each trial is designed to answer scientific questions about the particular medical approach.
Most clinical trials for cancer are carried out in a series of steps, called phases. There are four phases called I to IV. Clinical trials for cancer treatments are always assigned a phase, while those for screening, prevention and quality-of-life will not always have different phases. Genetics clinical trials in general do not have a phase. Each phase is designed to determine specific information about the potential new treatment, such as its risks, safety and effectiveness compared to standard therapy. The aim of the trial will be that the new medical approach or therapy will be an improvement over the existing method.

All clinical trials for cancer have guidelines specifying who can participate in the study and who cannot. They are called eligibility criteria, and they will differ from study to study. They may include age, medical history and current health status. They may also require that patients have a particular type and stage of cancer. Making sure that participants have similar characteristics helps to ensure that the results of the trial will be more accurate and meaningful.

There are benefits and risks involved with participating in clinical trials for cancer, or indeed any clinical trial.

The Benefits of Clinical Trials For Cancer include:

  • New drugs or procedures under study may offer no benefit for the patient compared to the standard therapy
  • New treatments may have side effects or risks that doctors do not expect or that are worse than those resulting from standard care
  • Participants in randomized trials will not be able to choose the approach they receive
  • Health insurance and managed care providers may not cover all patient care costs in a study
  • You may be required to make more visits to the doctor than they would if they were not in the clinical trial

It is important to ask your doctor or nurse questions before deciding to enter a clinical trial. Some questions you may want to ask include but are not restricted to:

  • What is the purpose of the study? How will it help people?
  • Who can take part in the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • What are the medical credentials and experience of the researchers and other study personnel?
  • How are the study results and safety of participants being monitored?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What are the possible short-term and long-term benefits and side effects and risks, and how do they compare with those of other options?
  • How will the trial affect my daily life?
  • What kinds of treatment, medical tests, or procedures will i have have during the study?
  • Where will i receive my medical care? Will i have to stay in hospital? If so, for how long?
  • How long will i need to stay in the study? Will there be follow-up visits after the study?
  • Can potential participants talk with people already enrolled in the study?
  • who can i talk to if i have more questions?
  • What are the costs involved? What will i have to pay for (tests, travel, etc)?
It is helpful to write down any questions you have in advance. It is also a good idea to ask a relative or friend to be there when asking these questions.
For ovarian cancer there are numerous trials going on at any one time.
Here is a list of websites where you can find clinical trials for cancer depending on the country you live in.


United Kingdom

United States

For information on specific ovarian cancer trials, please visit our Ovarian Cancer blog as we will be updating it with new and exciting trials that become available, or results from clinical trials for cancer that have been completed.